John Glore's 2010 script perfectly captures the tone and mood of the 1962 novel. It is a striking adaptation that easily includes the best parts of the novel, retaining as much of the original narrative as possible. Where material is excised there are not noticeable gaps in the play's narrative, ensuring that the piece presented is a complete plot with tangible character arcs. The use of narration where the cast reads excerpts form the novel itself is clever and helps to progress the plot while guaranteeing that the mood and tone is easily accessible for the audience.
Direction by Troy Scheid is thrillingly paced, keeping the audience comfortably on The Edge of their seat. She captures and retains the darker tone and mood inherent in the original novel, making this science fiction fantasy compelling and visceral for children and adults alike. Likewise, because of the ambience she deftly creates, the climax and resolution do not come across as cheesy or forced.
Starring as Meg Murray, Lindsay Ehrhardt is spellbinding and delightfully emotive. Her Meg is consistently believable and relatable to the audience. Her struggles with the realization of her own personal identity is adroitly played, making her transition into a courageous heroine all the more enjoyable and appreciated.
Kyle Curry's Charles Wallace is reminiscent of a young Dr. Sheldon Cooper from TV's The Big Band Theory. While not diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in the plot, the character fantastically, respectfully, and feasibly portrays the characteristics, adding a dynamic to the play that all adults and children diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome or children that know someone with Asperger's Syndrome can be appreciative of. Furthermore, the character shift, when controlled by It, is exquisitely creepy and unnerving.
As Calvin, Jarred Tetty elegantly blends jock-like characteristics with characteristics of a boy more in touch with his emotions. In doing this, he creates a grounded and well-rounded character that appeals and is relatable to all boys, regardless of where they may fall on the spectrum of gender normative views of masculinity. Moreover, his emotional attachment to Meg, and their shared moments of tenderness are stirring and electrifying.
Brittny Bush is spectacular as Mrs. Whatsit, a citizen of Camazotz, and The Man With The Red Eyes. Her Mrs. Whatsit is compassionate and motivating while her portrayal of The Man With The Red Eyes is terrifyingly blood chilling. She masterfully develops both characters to be alluring and powerful. Lastly, her transition into a centaur as Mrs. Whatsit is one of the most invigorating and mesmerizing parts of the performance.
Lauren Dolk brings charismatic and enjoyable life to her portrayals of Dr. Kate Murray, Mrs. Who, Aunt Beast, and a citizen of Camazotz. While each character she portrays is unique and fascinating, it is her Mrs. Who and Aunt Beast that are the most cajoling. Both of these characters offer assistance when it is most needed, especially the engrossing and otherworldly Aunt Beast.
Philip Hays is superb as Mrs. Which, Dr. Alex Murray, and a citizen of Camazotz. His voice alteration in addition to the microphone effects for Mrs. Which is astonishing and allows the character to stand apart for his others. His Dr. Alex Murray is a plausible and caring father.
Jac Jones' Scenic Design and Rodney Walsworth's Properties Design deftly compliment each other and skillfully lend themselves to the science fiction aspects of the show. Whether it's the floor and back wall with the star map painted across it or the glowing, pulsating brain that is the visual representation of It, every set piece and prop looks perfect in the performance.
David Gipson's Lighting Design is a sheer revelation of effective evocative design that is flawless in execution. The lighting elements of the play are miraculous and ingenious, making the performance all the more exciting and gratifying. Color washes of blues and reds are robust with emotion. Pulsing, flashing colors to indicate the travel by tesseract are inspired. This could easily be the best and most savvy lighting design seen in Houston for the 2012-2013 season.