Performing Arts: Theater
January 20, 2022
Rather than age normally, Kimberly (Victoria Clark) ages in dog years meaning she looks like an old lady in junior high school. Despite this genetic abnormality, Kimberly grew up like any child, wishing for friends and avoiding family tensions at home in David Lindsay-Abaire's new musical Kimberly Akimbo

We meet Kimberly at the local ice skating rink waiting for her delinquent father Buddy (Steven Boyer). Alcohol and stress commands her father's actions making him an unreliable member of the family. Compared to her father and her pregnant, child-like mother; Kimberly projects the wisdom of her aged physical appearance.

A loner, Kimberly connects with an equally alone and smart young man Seth (Justin Cooley) who works at the ice rink and needs a science lab partner. While Kiimberly and her pals sit in the library, the quiet is disrupted by the whirlwind arrival of Peggy (Alli Mauzey), Kimberly's ne'er do well aunt who has an affinity for larceny.

Utterly hilarious and outlandishly appealing, the full-bodied Peggy's charisma saturates the audience. Determined to make her fortune through any illegal means available, she rallies Kimberly and her pals.

Of course, Kimberly wants nothing to do with her out-of-control aunt, but her "make money fast" scheme appeals to her pals. In no time, Peggy and her posse become outlaws in a money laundering scheme.

With little fuss -- minimal sets (David Zinn) aided by Lap Chi Che's lighting design -- transform the Atlantic Theater into multiple indoor and outdoor locations.

But the true life of Kimberly Akimbo rests in Lindsay-Abaire's book and lyrics as well as its musical score by the startlingly talented Maria Tesori. Her music drives through pop and soul beats plunged in classical orchestrations.

Additionally, a thunderous, driving band is so exciting it makes you wish they would play a set during intermission.

Despite COVID concerns, the Atlantic Theater was packed with masked folks consumed by a much-needed heartfelt musical filled with anger, redemption, happiness and hope.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY --Celia Ipiotis

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