Playwright Michael Elyanow transports Euripides’ Medea to the present day via a magic spell cast by a chorus member, an incantation that whisks the play’s two titular protagonists away from their homicidal mother to a Maine town in the middle of a Category 5 hurricane. Once there, the production takes more than a moment to find its footing. Early on, its script relies too heavily and for too long on familiar, winking humor, making too much of both. But once the play opens up its characters, and the mystery at its center deepens, the mythic resonance turns from jokey to philosophical to heartbreaking. As a result, the play revises and redeems itself, giving the talented ensemble ample room to display impressive range. The whole is elevated by the synergy of its strikingly good production values. Jaymi Lee Smith’s inspired lighting design brilliantly maximizes Francois-Pierre Couture’s clever and beautifully realized scenic design, while both are enhanced by a sound design, co-created by Veronika Vorel and John Zalewski, that never strikes a false note, and is by turns nuanced, haunting and thrilling.

Fri., May 25, 8 p.m.; Sat., May 26, 8 p.m.; Sun., May 27, 2 p.m.; Thu., May 31, 8 p.m.; Fri., June 1, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 2, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 3, 8 p.m.; Wed., June 6, 8 p.m.; Thu., June 7, 8 p.m.; Fri., June 8, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 9, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 10, 2 p.m.; Fri., June 15, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 16, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 17, 2 p.m., 2012

LA Weekly