Stop Time Dance Machine – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Do you believe in time travel? H. G. Wells did and wrote a novel in 1895 called “The Time Machine.” A current television program “Quantum Leap” relies on one character, Dr. Ben Song, a scientist, stepping into an accelerator and vanishing. His hope is to change an historical event for the better, like ensuring President Lincoln does not get shot.

Now meet Darlene Zoller, the founder, director and choreographer of stop/time dance theater and a co-artistic director of West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park. Darlene is taking the concept of time travel and putting it cleverly on tap shoes and rhythmic moves in “stop TIME dance MACHINE until Sunday, April 2.

The stop/timer dancers become frantic when they witness their dedicated leader Darlene disappear in a time machine. Will she ever return or will they have to carry on without her inspired direction? The dancers in their white laboratory coats and experimental equipment waste no time in breaking up into groups to find her.

Using an activator reading and fearing miscalculations, they land in the roaring twenties seeking their best pal. Despite singing and tap energetically dancing “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?,” Darlene is nowhere to be found. Dressed in a colorful variety of costumes from flappers to bathing beauties to cavemen, all cleverly created by Lisa Steier, they then sway to Benny Goodman tunes and bravely enter the 1960’s and 1970’s. Ever looking for a sign, even venturing into the future, they despair they will never see Darlene again.

With the acting and singing led triumphantly by Amanda Forker, Rick Fountain and Victoria Mooney, the talented, ever smiling troupe of dancers-Lisa Caffyn, Jennifer Checovetes, Amelia Flater, Ali Forman, Rick Fountain, Shannon L’Heureux, Meredith Longo, Erica Misenti, Laurie Misenti, Shari Righi, Melissa B. Shannon, Alicia Voukides, Courtney Woods, and Darlene Zoller-is non-stop energy and style. Darlene Zoller conceived, directed and choreographed this entertaining evening of fun.

For tickets ($45-55), call Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford at 860-523-5900, ext. 10 or online at Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. On Saturday, April 1 at 2 p.m., there will be a matinee at 2 p.m.