I LOVE PSYCHO MUTANT KIMBERLEY!: A BITTERSWEET GENERATION X GAY LOVE STORY, Atomic Rapture Theatre Company, at Cafe Voltaire. It’s hard to imagine a freakier spectacle than newcomer Timothy James-O’Brien skulking his way through Atomic Rapture’s debut production, I Love Psycho Mutant Kimberley! When not rolling his eyes in grand melodramatic stares or hissing his lines through pursed lips, he bolts about the stage slightly hunched, slightly spastic, radiating pure intensity, a mesmerizing mixture of Gloria Swanson, Pee-Wee Herman, and Quasimodo. As Brett, the obsessive Melrose Place junkie lurking on the Halsted strip at 3 AM, falling madly for any man with a pulse, he takes the concept of verisimilitude to new heights.
However, he and Clifford Broadway, as Brett’s current obsession Sasha, are trapped in playwright Brian James’s first dramatic attempt, a superficial, predictable comedy of unrequited love. James mixes broad comedy with high drama; in one scene Sasha buys products labeled “This,” “That,” and “The Other Thing” in the grocery store, and in the next tearfully explains that he stayed with his AIDS-stricken lover only out of guilt. Instead of achieving a Kushner-esque fantasia, James creates an incongruous jumble suffering from multiple lapses in internal logic. Hobbled by director Michael P. Wilkin’s sluggish pace, the play never comes to life. Altogether a rather inauspicious debut.