Like mismatched watch parts, nothing synchs up in A Red Orchid Theatre’s lumbering production of “Kimberly Akimbo, ” a would-be comedy about a teenage girl who suffers a disease that causes her to age four-and-half times faster than normal—a one-joke premise that pretends to offer up insight, but leaves one feeling gypped instead. Kimberly has just turned sixteen; her hunched posture and wrinkly visage, however, scream “senior citizen.” (Mom and dad blank on her birthday, a detail playwright David Lindsay-Abaire blatantly steals, to zero effect, from “Sixteen Candles.”) Her disease sets her apart from the kids at school, but she finally makes a friend in Jeff, a nerd’s nerd with an anagram obsession nicely played by Steve Haggard, a nuanced actor who makes the most of a bad situation. Meanwhile, Kimberly’s parents are stuck in a marital limbo defined by sarcasm and trashy clothes. Then Aunt Debra arrives—she of the strung-out nerves and ex-con ways—creating yet more drama. The script is chockablock with plot, so much so that an actual story never emerges. Director Shade Murray is adrift within the playwright’s universe, an ill-conceived construct that force-feeds the audience high doses of wacky in place of anything real. Simply, the show never achieves rhythm. Roslyn Alexander’s vague and foggy performance as Kimberly is particularly troublesome. She is entirely miscast and clearly struggles with the role. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.