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Kimberly Akimbo

a Comedy
by David Lindsay-Abaire

COMPANY : Out of Box Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Artisan Resource Center
ID# 4680

SHOWING : February 06, 2015 - February 21, 2015



A hilarious and heartrending play about a teenager with a rare condition causing her body to age faster than it should. Kimberly is forced to reevaluate her life while contending with a hypochondriac mother, a rarely sober father, a scam-artist aunt, her own mortality and, most terrifying of all, the possibility of first love.

Director Zip Rampy
Jeff Ian Coulter
Debra Rebecca Danis
Buddy Ian Gaenssley
Pattie Alyssa Jackson
Kimberly Lynne Jenson
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Cleverly Akimbo
by playgoer
Sunday, February 8, 2015
David Lindsay-Abaire’s "Kimberly Akimbo" throws together five off-the-wall characters and lets mayhem occur as they interact. The first act concentrates on the comedy of their wackiness; the second act delves into more serious territory, leading to an ending that is not an ending at all, but a new (and not terribly believable) beginning.

Who are these five characters? First off, there’s Kimberly Levaco (Lynne Jenson), a 16-year-old who has aged at 4.5 times the normal rate. There’s her father Buddy (Ian Gaenssley), an alcoholic, undependable mechanic. There’s her mother Pattie (Alyssa Jackson), a pregnant hypochondriac whose hands are bound in gauze following a carpal tunnel operation. There’s her aunt Debra (Rebecca Danis), a homeless grifter, and finally her schoolmate Jeff (Ian Coulter), whose father pays more attention to Jeff’s brother in drug rehab.

The play takes place in a variety of locales – the Levaco kitchen, Kimberly’s bedroom, Buddy’s car, and a library table. Scenic designer Morgan Brooks has very ably fit these locales onto the tiny Out of Box stage, having the kitchen stage right and the bedroom stage left, with the car’s bench seat (literally, a bench) and the library table melting back into Kimberly’s bedroom when not needed. Sound design by Zip Rampy works very nicely, particularly in the car scenes. Lighting designer Joel Coady accompanies the locale changes with appropriate lighting, adding a few special effects that enhance the action. I was also quite impressed with the back-lit bedroom window used during scene transitions, although its use at the act ends robbed the show of applause.

Director Zip Rampy doesn’t have all his actors work at the same level of zaniness. In general, I would consider this a detriment to the show. It doesn’t really serve the script well when Pattie and Jeff seem relatively normal and Buddy and Debra seem broader than life. It doesn’t help that half the cast didn’t seem ready for all the laughs they garnered on opening night, with secret little half-smirks betraying their pleasure at receiving them. The show is blocked well, although I would have preferred some more disguising of Kimberly’s face at the start (with a deep parka hood, for instance), since Lynne Jenson’s body language and speech patterns scream "teenager," and a less sudden reveal of her middle-aged face would have a greater impact.

"Kimberly Akimbo" is a lot of fun in the first act, bogging down somewhat in the plot of the second act, but it is anchored throughout by the sterling performance of Lynne Jenson, who embodies the character of Kimberly, making an unbelievably conceived character seem to be a very real person, while simultaneously hitting all the comic points of her character’s interactions. It’s an achievement none of her castmates equal.

Out of Box Theatre’s "Kimberly Akimbo" will probably improve as the run continues. The pieces are in place for a very satisfying production, but they hadn’t quite jelled on opening night.


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