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Best Theater Company 

Sleepwalkers

Some people like their theater as polished as possible. Others like it scrappy. Sleepwalkers is definitely for the latter crowd: The company specializes in no-frills productions of rough-and-tumble new plays. In its adopted space at the Phoenix Theatre, Sleepwalkers cultivates a slacker vibe — in some cases, the programs are handwritten — but don't let that distract you from the fact that these people know how to pick a script. They know how to act, too; one of the company's regulars is Ian Riley, a frankly stunning performer whose puppy-dog looks belie a deep well of manic energy. Productions tend toward the topical (the 2008-2009 season covered corporate America, post-9/11 trauma, and the complacencies of political art) — and for once, "topical" isn't code for "sanctimonious and self-serious." A lot of companies in town try to create the indie-theater feel, but don't have the discipline or competence to pull it off. Sleepwalkers gets it right.

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