The play does take a turn for the better in the second act, particularly the last few scenes. Here is where we finally learn the source of the shame that colors this bitter family. It has less to do with Kim's ailment than with her family's inability to rise above the denial it finds itself mired in. And the play's end, in which resolutions are not given and easy answers not supplied, is a welcome treat. It's nice to see that after so much nastiness and bitterness, the playwright doesn't feel the need to sugarcoat his ending. It's one of the few times in the course of this play that the story's substance matches its style. Perhaps not so coincidentally, it's also one of the few times I actually cared about what was happening.
Kimberly Akimbo on South Coast Repertory's Mainstage, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-5555. Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 & 7:30 p.m. Through May 13. $28-$49.