The Magical Exploding Boy | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Magical Exploding Boy


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THE MAGICAL EXPLODING BOY, at Prop Thtr. Mime artist Dean Evans has a curious and riveting fragility: he's both doll-like and dangerously expressive in this one-man show. Dropping all the defenses and boundaries normally erected in public, he creates a kind of physical comedy--and physical tragedy--that's more than physical. Everything he feels is writ large on his plastic, wide-eyed face and echoed in his rubber body. This makes The Magical Exploding Boy almost painfully raw and resonant at times as well as funny in the manner of a Warner Brothers cartoon or Jim Carrey movie.

Evans's seven almost wordless vignettes seem plucked from a dark, eerie comic book. The stories range from the silly--in "Bully and the Boy" he beats himself up--to the almost heroic: in one scene Evans plays a jellyfishlike creature that won't admit defeat. In "telling" his tales, Evans is both precise--he trained with Marcel Marceau, after all--and imaginative: in "Bully" the victim finds refuge in his imagination, where he's riding a fine horse. Evans is an original, and his work is both startling and satisfying.

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