Adapting Mark Haddon's Whitbread-winning novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has finished chewing up Broadway and the West End, and is now on its way to Melbourne Theatre Company.
When Christopher Boone discovers the corpse of his neighbour's dog, he immediately becomes a suspect and sets out to clear his name. But while he sees himself as a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, everyone else sees an autistic teenager asking awkward questions. Regardless, the question remains: who stabbed Mrs. Shears' poodle with a pitchfork?
Haddon describes the book as "peculiarly internal", in that its protagonist struggles more than most to escape the bounds of his own head. Playwright Simon Stephens and the UK's National Theatre have made the most of this by having the audience see the world as Christopher does. A set consisting of a black grid and myriad projections evokes physical locations, as well as the ordered and fiercely logical flow of Christopher's cognitive process.
A Holmesian whodunnit as investigated by an Adrian Mole-esque outsider, The Curious Incident is both a celebration of difference and a decent argument against offing yappy pooches with gardening implements.