Pan & Boone | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Pan & Boone

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Pan & Boone, Running With Scissors, at Prop Thtr. Jeff Carey's magical new play reminds us of the rich pleasure to be found in kids' imaginations. Kurt Brocker and Matt McTighe play two brothers who like to dress up as Peter Pan and Daniel Boone respectively. Brocker and McTighe's performances are so convincing that we understand instantly the brothers' birth order: Pan's first lilting call to Boone is that of a younger sibling looking for his trusted playmate (and tormentor). Brocker is timid and hopeful, pestering his elder brother with questions, and McTighe is more assured but torn between imaginary play and a desired maturity.

The boys' stories and squabbles are rooted in their efforts to come to terms with the encroaching reality of growing up--and with the death of a grandfather, found in an electrical-cord noose (he died of a "stew inside," as the boys have overheard). Their adventures are accompanied by Joseph Fosco's jaunty sound track, and they encounter a creative cast of characters, including a truck-driving pig and scoutmaster eagle (portrayed by the talented Kent Reed as their dad, who sometimes participates in their games).

As directed by Kim Rubinstein, this is a lovely piece of whimsy capturing both the joy and sadness of Carey's subject. The second act is darker and loses some of the wide-eyed wonder that made the first half so charming, but this remains an original and enchanting look at grief and growing up.

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