"Kimberly Akimbo"'s story line certainly doesn't sound funny. A TV Guide summary might read, "A teenager with progeria, a rare medical condition that causes her to age at almost five times the normal rate, struggles just to get through her high school days."
If you added the other elements of the play "? an alcoholic father, pathologically self-obsessed mother and corrupt aunt "? it definitely would sound like either ham-handed melodrama or high tragedy, depending on the skills of the writer.
But in the exquisite hands of playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, "Kimberly Akimbo" is one of the most touching dark comedies to come along in years. Whether you're crying from laughter, or laughing to keep from crying, the play constantly dances on the edge of lunacy.
Director Rhonda Clark has led a fearless cast into this scary world and brings them out complete winners.
The wonderful Jane Hall may have the physical age for Kimberly, but her heart still seems 16. Her tiny stature moves with youth and her eyes sparkle with teenage hunger. Rick Foresee, as her nervous soulmate, makes this tricky part completely believable and sympathetic.
As the parents, Chris Crane and Kris Schinske are fantastic, whining and screaming one moment, and the next making us believe there is still a human being inside all that sickness. Courtney Hahne plays the overbearing, freeloading aunt to the hilt.
For those who carp about theater lacking a cutting edge, here's a chance to check out a playwright taking the stage world by storm.