A WRINKLE IN TIME, Lifeline Theatre. Lightning has struck the same stage twice: Lifeline is remounting James Sie's adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's children's sci-fi classic, debuted eight years ago in an ingenious staging by Meryl Friedman. Recalling The Wizard of Oz, this delightful 90-minute journey celebrates a girl who thwarts the forces of evil: Meg combines pluck and luck to rescue her father from an unspecified menace. An oddball who fears everything is her fault, she gets help from Calvin, a "popular big shot," and from Charles Wallace, her precocious baby brother. Supernatural support is provided by three good witches--the quote-crazy Mrs. Who, the spellbinding Mrs. Which, and former star Mrs. Whatsit (all of them gorgeously costumed by Yslan Hicks). Harnessing the fifth-dimensional "tesseract" to trigger a "wrinkle in time," the explorers visit a conformist city where all activities are performed in sync and confront the "dark place" that threatens an unsuspecting planet.
L'Engle's happy ending may seem perfunctory, but fortunately the charm of the journey outweighs it. Friedman's staging revels in lovely effects, like the rainbow wings that Mrs. Whatsit unfurls and the final transformation of Christine Jones's mathematical backdrop into a gorgeous starscape. Laura McKenzie is a dynamic, resilient Meg, and child actor Evan Bregman nearly steals the show as the forthright, inquisitive Charles Wallace. Here's a fitting testament to 15 years of wonderful work by Friedman, who will soon leave Lifeline.