A mother’s untimely death fuels the action in this dark, thoughtful comedy by Daniel MacIvor

The Best Brothers opens with two brothers individually receiving the news of their mother’s seemingly untimely and tragicomic death (crushed under a float at a gay pride parade). What follows are all the natural tasks children of the deceased must handle: the writing of the obituary, the setting up of the visitation, the arranging of the funeral and the reading of the will.

What drives a lot of the show’s humor and action is how these bickering brothers actually handle these tasks. The Best Brothers, directed by Lynn Bogner and playing at the Fort Collins Bas Bleu Theatre, will have you laughing, crying and contemplating some deep thoughts that arise when face to face with sudden death.

There are only two actors in this play, yet there are indeed four characters. Hamilton, played by Jeffrey Bigger, is the typical older brother — all business, with a no-nonsense attitude, while Kyle, played by Kevin Crowe, is the younger, needier brother. In fact, their mother admits she “loved him harder” because he needed it. Hamilton knew this, adding to the conflict between these two very opposite brothers.

The two actors pull double duty, playing not just the brother roles, but sporadically throughout the play they each don a pair of white gloves, glasses and hat to channel Bunny Best — their dearly departed mother. This gives us a unique glimpse into the character we’d otherwise only know through the brothers. It is through her that we get much of the soul searching, life questions and ideas that will stay with us long after the play has ended.

These glimpses of the matriarch give us ample opportunity to get to know her and her unique take on love, life and death. Considering her own death Bunny Best says, “I don’t know that I know what love is, but I know that it makes dying harder.”

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