REVIEW: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an absolute must-see
The adaptation of the hit novel has a very limited run in Dublin this week.
It all begins with a big garden fork sticking out of a dead dog, but it was also never really about that.
Based on the hit 2003 novel of the same name, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time tells the story of Christopher, a 15-year-old boy who is a mathematical genius with some "behavioural difficulties" - most akin to someone diagnosed with Asperger syndrome - who lives alone with his father in Swindon.
Christopher discovers his neighbour's dead dog and as initially the prime suspect for killing it, but once he has quickly proven his innocence, Christopher takes it upon himself to find the dog's real killer, which will eventually unravel a whole tapestry of secrets of lies involving his family and neighbours.
If you've read the book - and there was a time in the early noughties when it seemed like everyone was reading this book - then you already know where Christopher's detective work will take him, but if not, then we won't ruin any of the surprises for you here.
What will be a surprise to everyone is how they've visualised this story for the stage.
Set within an impressive technological cube that at times appears to replicate the design of mathematical graph paper, other times like the Holodeck from the Star Trek Enterprise, always constantly shifting its colours, perspectives and dimensions. It feels like a futuristic version of Dogville (which, oddly, was also first released in 2003), doing a lot of heavy lifting merely be suggesting the direction that our imaginations should be heading in.
Matched to that an impressive soundscape, constantly evoking Christopher's surroundings and sometimes his state of mind, blasting us tormented drum'n'bass sequences whenever he's feeling overwhelmed, or cracking the sound of a smashed lightbulb when things suddenly come to a shuddering halt.
It is an impressive collective of ways to get your senses constantly stimulated, matching Christopher's constantly firing synapses. In what must be a truly exhausting role, the central performance by David Breeds is nothing short of staggering. What could have been a single-layered character is given some true depth by the actor, who is capable of making you laugh out loud one moment and then breaking your heart the next.
He's assisted by a great cast of supporting performers, with special mention to Rebecca Root as Christopher's teacher Siobhan, who also doubles as the play's narrator as she reads from Christopher's writing account of the events of the play we're watching... and not without some very clever fourth-wall breaking moments.
And we never thought we'd say this, but stay until after the end for... well... a bit about maths. Trust us.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will be performed at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre until Saturday, 30 April.
Full details on timings and prices can be found here.