It is a rare thing for an adaptation, whether it be on the stage or screen, to surpass the original book, but The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime certainly seems to be the exception that proves the rule.
Being staged by the National Theatre at the Grand Opera House in Belfast this week, the play by Simon Stephens is based on the best-selling novel by Mark Haddon.
As a fan of the book I found it difficult to envisage how it would translate to the stage but the National Theatre have risen to the challenge and exceeded all expectations.
The story revolves around Christopher Boone, a 15 year old with Asperger’s Syndrome, giving a very personal insight into the inner workings of his mind as he sets out to discover who killed his neighbours dog and to track down his mother.
The leap of taking the story from the page to the stage was an enormous undertaking but has resulted in what is undoubtedly one of the most mesmerising, original, and thought provoking pieces of theatre that has ever been created,
The use of sound, lighting, and digital projection make for an immersive experience that clearly captivated the audience from beginning to end.
The humour, the fear, the emotion of the book came to life even more starkly on stage as you experience the overwhelming sensory onslaught that Christopher is subjected to every minute of every day.
While the book takes readers on the same journey, as Christopher faces his fears to travel from Swindon to London, somehow the play makes that experience even more visceral.
Cleverly staged in a box on stage, the set, while basic, was a stroke of genius, allowing the actors to adapt and create their own set within the cube of light. Every last detail was considered, with actors even playing roles of inanimate objects such as a door or a mat.
Throughout the production, the choreography was outstanding. In places the actors moved together like dancers, their bodies moving fluidly, creating yet another dimension to what is a fairly simple tale.
In all honesty words cannot do justice to the beauty of this production.
It is something that truly has to be seen to be believed. The show runs at the Grand Opera House in Belfast until Saturday (April 22) and my only advice is that you do not miss it.