Breaking the Code

Brilliant, eccentric mathematician Alan Turing (Sam R. Ross) did vital work for British intelligence during World War II, breaking the Nazi Enigma Code, which saved thousands of Allied lives, and materially helped defeat the Axis powers. But because his efforts were top secret, he received only posthumous public recognition. (Later, building on his work on the code machines, he pioneered the modern computer.) But as playwright Hugh Whitemore observes here, he broke other codes as well: moral, legal, professional and personal, including the homosexual’s 20th-century code of silence. Gay, guileless, awkward, ruthlessly honest and socially inept, he was often oblivious of his effect on others. When a sexual encounter with a bit of rough trade (Adam Burch) led to a police investigation, he rashly admitted to the inspector (Armand DesHarnais) that he had sexual relations with the young man. He found himself, like Oscar Wilde, prosecuted for “gross indecency,” his life and career wrecked. Writer Whitemore and actor Ross provide an eloquent, touching, richly detailed portrait of Turing, and director Robert Mammana has assembled a fine supporting cast, including Sarah Lilly as Turing’s garrulous, loving mother, and David Ross Patterson as a hilarious dim-bulb bureaucrat. The Chandler Studio Theatre, 12443 Chandler Boulevard, North Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 3 p.m.; thru June 20. or (800) 838-3006. The Production Company.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 7, 3 p.m.; Sun., June 14, 3 p.m. Starts: May 15. Continues through June 20, 2009

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