EMAV: Cockroach's 'Father' is stunning and brilliant ★★★★★



★★★★★ - Irresistible

As you watch “The Father,” by Florian Zeller and translated by Christopher Hampton, presented by Cockroach Theatre at ArtSquare, you will be treated to a fully integrated production.

A heavy hand would’ve turned this into a horrid, hard to watch example of the deterioration of the mind. Director Darren Weller (or Daz, depending upon which program entry you care to use) takes a difficult subject and handles it superbly with grace and style.

In the title role, Gary Lunn is remarkable. In every move, every tiny nuance from a hand nervously grabbing at a pant leg, the lift of an eyebrow, the sudden angry outbursts in confusion and fear, Lunn delivers a stunning and brilliant performance as Andre. Without a doubt this is his finest performance to date in Las Vegas.

The supporting cast of Clare Jaget, Jon Spinogatti, Gigi Guizado, Tim Cummings, and Kelly Hawes, are inspiring. Each of them brings a nuanced, three-dimensional portrayal to the stage. To give details would be a bit like handing out spoilers.

The entirety lends itself to unconsciously immerse the audience into Andre’s mind as lighting dims to escort us into a world as it slowly diminishes. Kudos to the deck crew. With the exception of the final two, set changes are completed in mere seconds during full-on blackouts – something I haven’t witnessed on Las Vegas stages for a long time. The final changes are accomplished under lighting for a definite purpose.

In the final scene Guizado spends an inordinate amount of time fluffing a pillow and straightening out the sheets and blankets of a bed into tedium. But, even that could be one more hint into the life of dealing with a person who is easily confused and repeats questions or statements ad nauseum.

Details, details, details. Not a one was left out. From the well-appointed Parisian flat designed by Alexia Chen, that shifts in miraculous ways to close in as Andre’s mind closes down, to the set dressing, everything is in place right down to the chicken dinner.

The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health collaborated with Cockroach on this production. If you attend any performance, you are invited to return and join in a Talk Back with the production team after Sunday matinees.

To wax poetic would be overkill. Simply stated: This production is beautifully executed; theatre at its finest. Whatever you have planned during one of the scheduled performances, cancel it and go see this play.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday – Saturday;

2 p.m. Sunday through April 15

2 p.m. Saturday, April 14

NO PERFORMANCE on April 6 due to First Friday.

Where: Art Square Theatre, 1025 S First St, #110

Tickets: $15 - $25 (www.cockroachtheatre.com, 725- 222-9661)

Producer: Cockroach Theatre; Artistic Director: Levi Fackrell; Director: Darren Weller; Scenic Design: Alexia Chen; Lighting Design: Andy killion; Cosume Design: Candice Wyants; Sound Design: Toby Allen; Production Manager: Marni Lewis; Stage Manager: Nicole Killion

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