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Kimberly Akimbo

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by David Lindsay-Abaire

COMPANY : Actor's Express [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Actor's Express [WEBSITE]
ID# 1507

SHOWING : March 23, 2006 - April 29, 2006

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

This charming comedy gives hysterical new meaning to “coming of age.” Kimberly’s rare condition accelerates her physical growth by four and a half times the normal rate, making her physically older than her parents (a paranoid hypochondriac and a drunk), and causes her to resemble the school lunch ladies more than her classmates. With her parents consumed with having another baby, Kimberly and her fellow social outcast Jeff get caught up in crazy Aunt Debra’s latest larceny attempt and find the sweetness of first love amid the family hijinks.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Jasson Minadakis
Assistant Director Danielle Mindess
Buddy John Alcott
Jeff Jeremy Aggers
Patti Tess Malis Kincaid
Kimberly Mary Lynn Owen
Debra Rachel Roberts
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REVIEWS

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On Caricature, Eccentricity, and Losing the Ethical Core
by Dedalus
Monday, April 17, 2006
3.0
Now there’s a nice pretentious title for a column on what is essentially a light comedy about family dysfunction!

I’m admittedly a fan of playwright David Lindsay-Abaire. I loved “Fuddy Meers” and just finished the script for “Wonder of the World,” (having regrettably missed Horizon’s production a few years back). In those two plays, he has a wonderful sense of the absurd, a flair for language, and the ability to balance on the razor-edge the separates the eccentric from the contrived.

I also liked “Kimberly Akimbo,” currently on view at Actor’s Express. I just didn’t love it. I thought the script took a patronizing tone towards its characters, the balancing act fell squarely in the contrived court, and, worst of all, the characters lost all sense of having an ethical core – these weren’t just eccentric people that made us laugh, they were unpleasant people we could look down on from our smug, politically-correct perch.

Which is a shame, because there were moments that were outrageously funny, the staging was clever and dynamic (the scene changes themselves were an object lesson in keeping multi-scene plays flowing), the performances were uniformly excellent, and the ending was sorta kinda nice and bittersweet.

To recap, Kimberly suffers from a genetic disorder that makes her age at over 4 times the normal rate. She looks like a grandmother, but acts like a teenager. Her mother is about to give birth, her father is forgetful and usually drunk, her aunt is a freeloader with a shady past, and her best friend is a Dungeons and Dragons geek who is essentially clueless. For most of the play, I was laughing along with them, amused at their antics and eccentricities, and ignoring the condescending viewpoint the playwright seems to have. Mary Lynn Owen is especially good at making us believe she was a teenager trapped in an older lady’s body, and Tess Malick Kincaid was hysterically funny as Kimberly’s Mom.

Where the play began to lose me was when we learn why Aunt Debra was not especially welcome in this house. Worse still, a bank heist sub-plot is tacked on which is never fully explained, and which contrives to make Kimberly and her friend to do stuff that is just too far out of character. In spite of the High Talent and Low Laughs on display, I was left with the feeling that I’d been witnessing a been-there seen-there family dysfunction play that tells us nothing new about human nature, and which milks too many laughs out of too shallow caricature. The plot moved not from character, but from playwright manipulation. And the “Disease of the Week” suffered by the main character was just window dressing. The few scenes that delved a little deeper into the implications of her condition were either too short and “tacked-on,” or worse, just an excuse for another not-very-funny joke (how are “Kimberly Years” related to “Dog Years,” for example).

“Fuddy Meers” and “Wonder of the World” used eccentricity humor and bizarre plotting as a means to explore what it means to be alive and human. “Kimberly Akimbo,” on the other hand, seemed manipulative, exploitative, and contrived.

Which is not to say it wasn’t also very funny.

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)

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Love Seeing Comedy at Actor's Express
by St. Genesius
Thursday, April 6, 2006
5.0
It was so refreshing to see comedy at Actor's Express. Mary Lynn Owen did a superb job of playing a 16yr old in the body of a grandmother- very believable. I'm sorry I didn't give you a standing ovation. Plus I loved watching the awkward teenage chemistry between the characters of Kimberly and Jeffrey. Not too mention that Jeffrey played by Jeremy Aggers was easy on the eyes to watch on stage.

I loved the energy of actor John Alcott playing the dad. The mom- Tess Malis Kincaid- was hilarious and I loved her NJ accent. And the criminal aunt Rachel Roberts really fit the part.

I love the Dungeons and Dragon scene. It is a comedy but gosh I felt so bad for Kimberly- what a rotten family, thank god for friends. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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