Open Circle Theater
April 24 - May 23, 2009
Dustin Engstrom's The Center of the Universe is a strange and fascinating journey into a new world or two... or three...
Similar to Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, the play centers on several characters whose lives have been fatefully intertwined by some of their special powers, political action and travel between worlds. When the key to the center of the universe was taken, the world split into many dimensions, all parallel but all different. So what would happen if one were to meet oneself in another world? Just one of the many questions posed by Engstrom's new play.
While perhaps a bit longer than it could have been and, therefore, picking up a little drag at times, the show brings up many fascinating questions and features some fantastic talent. Drew Sutherland (Bellhop) does a spectacular job of juggling several different characters throughout the performance. Conversely, Margaretta Lantz (Melissa) has but one personae, but brings her to life so vividly it's hard to take your eyes off here once she's appeared on stage.
Particularly outstanding is the composition and sound design. The style Ben Erickson used puts the audience immediately in the mind of a classic sci-fi film. The script certainly lends itself to the same feel, that good, wholesome sci-fi we all long for in this day of CGI and 3-D monsters at the cinema.
While the show falls rather flat at times, losing the audience with too much time between its epic points, when those moments occur, it becomes the fascinating and thought-provoking show it wants to be.
Review by Andrew J. Perez