To be sure, some of Walton's broader theatrical brush strokes, such as a few synthesized sound effects and Technicolor-like visuals (which flicker to eerie life on an asymmetrical drive-in marquee that looms center stage behind the front seat of Peck's car) feel a tad intrusive. And the more extreme, cartoonish comic scenes are sometimes lacking in precision and timing. Like the performers' well-executed portrayals, though, the film clips, vintage songs and bald-faced ribaldry collectively evoke the lingering psychological effects of molestation as much as they do the more graphic--and maybe more readily talked about--physical aspects of abuse. As this heroic and poignant production tells us, a family's affection can sometimes be a necessary refuge, occasionally an unlikely comfort and, perhaps more often than anyone realizes, a half-hidden source of deepest suffering and newfound forgiveness.
How I Learned to Drive, presented by Curious Theatre Company and the Acoma Center through May 30 at the Acoma Center, 1080 Acoma Street, 303-623-0524.