SOMETIMES the book comes first or the play becomes a film.

In the case of Dear Esther, a computer game inspired a curious, puzzling and haunting stage event.

The game follows a single character as he walks through an uninhabited island on the Hebrides. A large screen follows him as he travels through the beautiful and bleak landscape.

As the audience we are him, we see everything through his eyes, scything through the wild grasses and flowers, teetering on the edge of vertiginous cliffs and crossing through golden beaches covered in shipwrecks.

If you were playing the game online, clues would arrive to help you understand why the man is walking through such a wild and lonely landscape alone.

In the stage version, an actor provides a spare but poetic monologue in the form of letters written from the narrator to his dead wife, the Dear Esther from the title.

So there’s the film, the narrator and the computer operator. The final piece is a piano quintet with a soprano playing a beautiful and haunting soundtrack.

The effect is mesmerising as the graphically enhanced visions of the island unfold from clifftops scenes to underground caverns complete with stalagmites and stalactites.

The character swims underwater and dives down into deep wells.

While beautiful to watch, the presence of the narrator forces the audience to grapple with uncovering the reasons the narrator is there and the problem lies with the insistence of a plot.

The language is rich but obscure, poetic but frustrating as the story fails to unfold. At just 90 minutes, it’s fine to relax and enjoy the music and scenery.

As a piece of theatre, I found the unfathomable narrative intrusive and distracting.

The game may be effective but the script fails to translate into a good enough drama to satisfy.