If the size of a theatre were relative to the quality of the work being produced in it, then by all rights, the shoebox-sized Chandler Studio Theatre, which houses The Production Company, should be the size of the Hollywood Bowl. Case in point: Their stellar production of “Breaking the Code,” Hugh Whitemore’s intelligent, riveting and moving bio-drama about Alan Turing, the British genius who helped win WWII for the Allies by breaking Germany’s fiendishly complex Enigma Code.
Sam R. Ross plays Turing in a powerfully focused performance, capturing the scientist’s stammer and painful social ineptitude in brilliant contrast to his tender, almost desperate affection for his male lovers. Turing was a hero to his country in its most desperate hour but openly admitting to his homosexuality, when that was still considered a criminal offense in Britain, eventually lead to his downfall and perhaps even his untimely death.
Under Robert Mammana’s deft and sensitive direction, Turing’s love of knowledge and limitless faith in the power of the human mind illuminates the stage. The supporting performers are all uniformly excellent, too, from David Ross Patterson’s amusing turn as Turing’s slightly dotty boss to Michael Tauzin’s chattering bit as a Greek boy toy.
Whitemore crafts an elegant, beautiful story out of the life of an unjustly tarnished hero, poignantly illustrating Einstein’s admonition that “great souls have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” At the Chandler Theatre, it also makes for one of the best productions you could hope to buy a ticket for.
“Breaking the Code” performs at the Chandler Studio Theatre (12443 Chandler Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91607) Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm through June 20th, with Sunday matinees at 3pm on June 7th and 14th. Tickets are $22. For information, call (800) 838-3006 or go to www.theprodco.com.