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‘Curious Incident’ a stellar production

Theater Review

Scott McLelland (right) gives a stellar performance as Christopher Boone’s father, Ed. Christopher (left) is played by Molly Oberg. Daniel Downs (background, from left) and Shariana Visaya are also part of the cast. PETER SWANZY photo

Once or twice every season a truly great show emerges. A show that mesmerizes and outshines, and a show that makes one ponder, “Who needs to go to the Mainland to experience great theater?” ProArts’ “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is that show, and my hunch is that once coconut wireless hits, it will be the toughest ticket in town.

Molly Oberg as Christopher Boone gives a bravura performance. Audiences will exalt in Oberg’s loving depiction of this extraordinary and intensely perceptive teen. Because “Curious Incident” is better appreciated by knowing very little, I will refrain from revealing the many surprising plot twists of the mystery.

Another stellar portrayal of note is Scott McLelland as Christopher’s father, Ed. McLelland offers an impeccable working-class British accent as well as outstanding stage presence. His talent nimbly reveals the gamut of emotions the parent of a child with neurological divergence might exhibit from moment to moment. From exhaustion, to frustration, inappropriate rage, sympathy and remorse, McLelland is everything one might anticipate from the Broadway production of “Curious Incident.” Equally impressive is the performance of Noel Overbay as Judy, Christopher’s mother. Overbay is the other side of the same parenting coin, as she offers believable disappointment in herself, but a steadfast desire to improve and make up for previous shortcomings.

As Christopher’s teacher and school counselor, Megan Caccamo gives her finest performance to date. Her character Siobhan moves in two worlds, in the moment and as a narrator who guides the audience from the perspective of looking back on the story. Her likeability and charm as the most kindhearted character of “Curious Incident” is award-worthy.

As impressive as these performances are, it is staging and artistic design that makes the production so divine. Caro Walker and director Mark Collmer’s stage design is sublimely austere, and Andy Behrle’s brilliant projections are literally otherworldly. Keeping all those moving parts flowing are the talented ensemble actors. Sharyn Stone, Ed Fell, Eric Strand, Daniel Downs, Jussara Oliveira and Shariana Visaya work as one in reassembling the Tetris-like mobile stage cubes, allowing for the set itself to become a living cast member. In addition, the ensemble skillfully doubles and triples as dozens of supplementary characters necessary to tell Christopher’s incredible story. Collmer and the entire production team have given Maui one of the most riveting and artistically important pieces of the 2019-20 season.

* ProArts continues “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” by Simon Stephens, based on the novel by Mark Haddon, directed by Mark Collmer. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 26 at the ProArts Playhouse. Tickets are $26. For more information or to purchase tickets for any ProArts event call 463-6550 or visit www.proartsmaui.com. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” contains adult content and may not be appropriate for children.

— MICHAEL PULLIAM