Captain Steve's Caring Kingdom | The Factory Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Chris Hainsworth, Topher Leon, and Scott Oken

Chris Hainsworth, Topher Leon, and Scott Oken

Michael Courier

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 9 2017
Price: $25, $15 students and seniors, $5 industry
Mike Ooi sets his unlikely marvel of a play in a make-believe world where tiny animals—Ellie Elephant, Beaky Falcon, OK Bear, etc—live until it’s time to appear in the titular vintage children’s television show, which seems about as trippy and awful as H. R. Pufnstuf or The Banana Splits Adventure Hour. They’re plagued by workaday problems (lousy jobs, marital discord, unadmitted alcoholism), all of which they believe Captain Steve can solve through wisdom, magic, and indiscriminate cheerfulness. But his failure to show up at broadcast time initiates a cheeky, hilarious existential crisis, part Lord of the Flies, part Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Ooi mostly avoids facile irreverence in favor of poignant foolishness, steering a stalwart cast to disarming emotional depths. All he needs is an ending. —Justin Hayford

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