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McQueen also engenders a rather remarkable turn by newcomer Ashley Anderson as Ada, an unfamiliar performer to me whose playbill bio mentions nary one earlier stage appearance. She may not convey the passage of time quite convincingly, but she captures the character’s “explicit giddiness” with determined gusto.
Moreover, Anderson holds her own admirably alongside an experienced supporting cast that features Mark Cosby as Babbage, an especially superb Holly Stevenson as Lady Byron, Brandon Partrick as Ada’s stiff-upper-lipped stuffed shirt of a husband, Kathleen McManus in a glorified cameo as her tutor, and Evan Alex Cole as a father figure in the play’s climactic dream sequence.
In that beautifully realized ending, math and music finally and literally coalesce — rendering Essential’s “Ada and the Memory Engine” an endeavor well worth remembering, indeed.
“Ada and the Memory Engine”
Through Aug. 27 (in rotating repertory with "Another Mother"). 8 p.m. Aug. 5, 10, 15, 19, 22 and 25; 2 p.m. Aug. 6 and 13; 7 p.m. Aug. 20. $10-$25. West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. SW, Atlanta. www.essentialtheatre.com.
Bottom line: Yet another impressive work by Decatur native Lauren Gunderson.