BOTTOM LINE: A compelling and brilliant autobiographical piece that explores the real life of Gina Kim, a rape survivor and incest victim.
In Miss Kim we join Gina Kim, a Korean-American New Jersey native, on her deeply personal journey as a rape survivor and incest victim. Kim, who wrote the play with Ryan Tofil and portrays herself with the occasional help of the very talented Cristy Candler, delivers an incredibly powerful, riveting and brutally honest work that tugs at your heart and leaves you rooting for her to persevere through many set-backs.
Helping to bring her story to the stage are four versatile actors (Tessa Fay, Matt McCurdy, Justin Gentry, and co-playwright Ryan Tofil) expertly playing a long list of boyfriends, sexual partners, family members, therapists and other assorted characters. These very talented actors, aided only by minimal props and costumes, brilliantly and effortlessly become people of all sorts of backgrounds and ages as the story progresses. Director Matthew Corozine's stellar staging uses just five white cubes to tell Kim's personal odyssey.
Miss Kim would be an ambitious and moving piece with or without Gina Kim's amazing performance, but the play is made even more powerful when you pause and realize that the story you are seeing is autobiographical. This is one brave woman putting herself out there, no holds barred. (It is worth noting that a portion of the proceeds benefit Safe Horizon, the nation's leading victim assistance organization.)
Miss Kim does not flinch from confronting the horrible repercussions of child molestation, rape and incest, yet the authors wisely infuse the work with humor and the occasional song, thereby avoiding what could easily be an incredibly depressing piece. This is the genius of Miss Kim - as its tag line states (and the work proves): "even the darkest moments have an element of hope and humor." In a word, Miss Kim is amazing - it is the first show I have seen during this year's Fringe Festival to receive an immediate standing ovation, and it certainly deserves such an enthusiastic response.
(Miss Kim plays at the Player's Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street between West 3rd Street and Bleecker, through August 28th. Remaining performances are Sunday 8/22 at 4pm, Tuesday 8/24 at 2pm and Friday 8/27 at 4:45pm. For more information visit www.misskimtheplay.com. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, and are available at FringeNYC.com, by calling 866.468.7619, or in person at FringeCENTRAL, located at 1 East 8th Street at 5th Avenue. There is NO LATE SEATING for Fringe NYC shows.)