Cockroached was performed at the Old Joint Stock Theatre on 18 June. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, we are introduced to the few remaining survivors.
It was an inspired idea using the old radio equipment with the two actors in separate rooms, and it worked very well. Portraying the difficulty (yet at some times the carefree ease) of communicating with a relative stranger when one has not met in person was done very effectively, enhanced by the breaking of the fourth wall where the characters themselves discussed this.
As ‘Radio’, Alexander George was fantastically drawling and dry, immediately creating a sense of a more superior character. Whilst George, who was never seen, did excellently well to convey his character through voice alone.
Taylor, played by Freya Sharp, was wonderfully profound, speckled with moments of glorious ‘weirdness’ that most could relate to, stemming from cabin fever and years of isolation. From muttered monologues to herself, to sarcastic and cutting retorts to ‘Radio’, to her final outburst and meek acceptance of death, Sharp never failed to portray the quirky and lonely Taylor.
The story created a great sense of conflict from the audience during darker moments, where sudden flippant comments were made – we all laughed then quickly sobered as we reflected on the situation Taylor was in. Additionally, by not initially giving away the full backstory of why Taylor and Radio are in their separate bunkers etc., and gradually revealing the story of the end of the world and of ‘the things outside the door’ it kept the audience fully engaged, eager to learn more.
Lighting was used well, getting darker at more intense moments to create a more enclosed space. Music was also used very effectively, eerie backing tracks intermingling with the more upbeat tunes ‘Radio’ plays for Taylor, to constantly keep the audience on edge. A minor criticism would be during Taylor’s mad dash to meet ‘Radio’, it was accompanied by loud klaxons, which somewhat obscured the dialogue.
However, we were thoroughly gripped by the story and atmosphere throughout, and fantastic writing, directing and performance have come together to make an excellent show – the cast and crew can rest assured that they have created a very successful and thrilling production.
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