EMAV Review: Cockroach's 'Still Dance' a crazy clutter of original artistry

Updated: Mar 8, 2019

By Galina Vasileva

★★★☆☆ - Satisfying

Cockroach Theatre Company's production of "Still Dance the Stars" is a crazy clutter of original artistry with inspired music and dance of different styles, and dialogue that includes childish teases, serious adult conversations, and dramatic implausibility. There is a lot to keep one's attention fresh and busy, but it also proves to be easily confusing with fast changes, tedious conversations, and funny moments that work on their own.

The story deals with lost love, and struggles in the family of James and Anne. Plush stuffed animals are included in the conversational battle between the couple, one of which, Hope the Hippo, aims to re-spark the flame of love between them. The story begins as they pack their belongings, ready to separate. The burden of the situation, represented by walls of cardboard boxes shaping the entire set, hangs there the entire time, and reminds the audience how close and easy the break is.

Director Marcus Weiss ties everything firmly together with intriguing staging and scenic treatment.

The artistic, very theatrical scenic design done by Zachariah Philips, provides not only the right atmosphere, but many opportunities for interesting space exploration that are obvious at first glance of the set. This, in combination with the original music of Scott Haskin, exposes a mysterious, enigmatic feeling that is somehow alive on the stage, ready to be modulated. Actor Jake Staley gives and receives, fully invested James' journey. Regrettably the playwright, Jayme McGhan, gives James dialogue filled with unnecessary banal explanations, which reveals a lack of sound authorial basis, and breaks the trust established with the audience.