A Long Way From Chicago | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

A Long Way From Chicago 

James E. Grote's adaptation of Richard Peck's Newbery-winning children's novel gets bogged down in narrative sometimes, which is unfortunate given Peck's imaginative prose. Still, Grote does well at creating a consistent tone in these tales of the yearly pilgrimages that Joey and Mary Alice make to visit their no-nonsense grandma during the Depression. As the brother and narrator, Kevin Kingston gives the family's modest adventures--fishing from a stolen boat, baking pies for the county fair--a deadpan sincerity; warmth and modesty permeate this homespun production. During the second act, an acid send-up of small-town mannerisms draws attention from the children's experiences, treated as one long existential journey. But in the first act, there are times when the overflowing artifacts in this decrepit homestead fade from view, and the two children and their grandmother just stand and wait for deeper truths to emerge from the somnolent shadows. Through 12/12: Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 4 and 8 PM, Sun 5:30 PM. Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood, 773-761-4477. $12-$24; rush tickets available.

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