Spending time in Kimberly’s world

Clever, dark and entertaining with a touch of over-acting


It's a cold dark night as Kimberly waits over two hours for her often-drunk father to pick her up at the ice skating rink.

Her evening brightens when they stop at Jiffy Burger on the way home, where Jeff is working at the drive-through window and there's a spark.

Kimberly is a 17-year-old with progeria syndrome, we learn - her body ages rapidly so she looks 70, although she is given to sassing her dad as a teen would. Linda Suttle plays this tricky part with skill gained through years of stage experience - she doesn't overdo it. (She said it is one of her dream roles.)

Brad Wagner, as Jeff, is believable as a bright, nerdy kid who doesn't have a good relationship with his father, but is bouncy and cheerful.

Playwright David Lindsay-Abair has a particular knack for creating quirky characters, but this play, one of his earlier ones, is a bit of a stretch - and perhaps over-populated with "quirky's."

Kim's father Buddy (Zach Brown) spends most of his hours dimmed by alcohol as he tries to get his family away from con-woman Aunt Debra, while living with his decidedly unusual daughter and pregnant, hypochondriac wife, Pattie (Kim Netherton).

In her Denver debut, Netherton/Pattie over-acts in her admittedly goofy role, operating at a near hysterical pitch throughout. Perhaps director Deb Flomberg can help her tone it down a notch at times.

It seems more appropriate for Kaity Talmage-Bower's cheerful con-woman Aunt Debra to maintain a frantic pace as she calculates a way to come up with some quick cash.

Dark humor surfaces regularly and the play comes to a rather satisfying end.

It's a clever plot and offers an entertaining evening with some unexpected twists.

If you go:

"Kimberly Akimbo" by David Lindsay-Abaire plays through Feb. 15 at the Bug Theater, 3654 Navajo St. in Denver's Highlands. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with a special "Spend Valentine's Day with Kim" offer of champagne and chocolate on Feb. 14. Tickets: $20 advance/$22 at the door. 720-984-0781, www.EquinoxTheatreDenver.com.


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