The Boy Detective Fails

The Boy Detective Fails

The House Theatre has opened their latest play, The Boy Detective Fails, adapted from the upcoming novel of the same name by Joe Meno.

Billy Argo is a former child detective in the mold of the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. Scarred by the suicide of his sister, he himself attempts suicide and then retreats into a mental institution for ten years before emerging, blinking, to try to make his way in the world. I’m not giving much away, here, because all that happens in a video prologue to the play that you can also view online.

It’s a touching look at a terribly, terribly flawed individual who used to be a hero. Jake Minton and Stephen Taylor are stand-outs as, respectively, a washed-up mad scientist and a fake mustache salesman.

The show is also the only place to get a copy of that novel before September, which might be worth the trip alone. I’m nearly done with the book, and even knowing the story from having just seen the play, it’s an astonishing and vibrant read.

Chicago Sun-Times review: ‘Boy’ seems a bit naive, yet deals with reality
Bookslut: An Interview with Joe Meno

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