I Left My Sneakers in Dimension X, Runamuck Productions, at the Mercury Theater. Far too many children's theater companies underestimate the intelligence of their audience. Rather than treating children's theater as the complex art it ought to be, these troupes reduce it to a formulaic science. Good children's theater encourages its audience to participate, to take an active role--and make an emotional investment--in the proceedings. Kids can ferret out a stodgy, slow-witted production a mile away. So it's easy for an adult to gauge the quality of a children's production by watching the audience--and judging by the warm, animated response I Left My Sneakers in Dimension X received on the afternoon I attended, Runamuck has another winner on its hands.
Like Runamuck's excellent Math Curse and The Mysterious Cases of Mr. Pin last year, Heath Corson's adaptation of Bruce Coville's young-adult sci-fi epic puts a premium on entertainment and allows its few lessons to flow naturally from the sprawling narrative. I Left My Sneakers in Dimension X follows the adventures of wide-eyed cousins Rod Allbright and Elspeth McMasters as they help the Galactic Patrol free Dimension X from maniacal despot Smorkus Flinders. Depicting an interdimensional journey through space and time is a tall order, but thanks to Corson's fast-paced staging, Lindsay Jones's sophisticated audio collage, and some elaborate kung fu fighting and song-and-dance sequences, there isn't a dull moment.