BWW Reviews: The Rhythmic Delights of STOMP

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BWW Reviews: The Rhythmic Delights of STOMP

The last time Stomp came to the Fabulous Fox Theatre I made sure to bring along my son. I made a point of taking him this time as well, because their antics seem to absolutely delight him. I can understand why. If you've ever drummed on your steering wheel to a song on the radio, or absentmindedly tapped your pencil on your desk, creating your own rhythmic accompaniment, then you already grasp the concept at the heart of Stomp. Over the course of an hour and a half, a group of performers demonstrate how you can make music with just about anything, and in doing so, create a genuinely joyful noise. It's akin to taking the guy in office with the annoying habit of pounding on things, and elevating what he does to high art; but, it works like a charm.

Beginning with their signature brooms, the group takes us on a musical journey that finds them utilizing the following items to generate sound: matchboxes, plastic bags, tubing, road signs, a newspaper, oil drums, cans, pots and pans, water bottles, buckets, truck tire inner-tubes, flexible slinky-like tubes, shopping carts, and of course, the requisite kitchen sink. A comic bit with tubes proves that size does matter, at least where pitch is concerned.

But don't get the idea that this is all just the equivalent of listening to one incredibly long drum solo. The talented cast is also capable of busting some pretty dynamic moves. There's certainly a great deal of precisely executed choreography involved that helps maintain your interest visually. One number finds several cast members tethered to wires, swinging from side to side as they crank out another percussion based composition. There's also plenty of comic relief to provide a break from the intensity of these individual pieces. And, if you're able to clap your hands and snap your fingers, you'll find yourself participating as well.

What drives Stomp is it's complex combination of polyrhythms building one on top of the other in waves of tension and release, creating a kind of mesmerizing, hypnotic effect on the audience. That they're doing this with common household objects and industrial junk, is what makes it so appealing. I mean, why purchase an expensive drum kit to lay down a beat, when you can use a couple of trash cans to achieve the same effect. Although, there are probably some drawbacks to be found with this approach. I would think these folks would have some pretty bruised and calloused hands from the abuse they endure on a nightly basis.

Since there were no pictures included to allow me to differentiate between cast members I can only tell you that eight of the twelve listed here performed at the show I attended: Alexandria Bradley, Eric Fay, Andre Fernandez, Cammie Griffith, Mike Hall, Lance Liles, Guy Mandozzi, Andre Meggerson, Nancy Rubio, John Sawicki, Mike Silvia, and Carlos Thomas. What I can tell you is that they're all a lot of fun to watch, and they seem to be having a great time performing.

Co-Directors and co-creators Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas have crafted a well paced show that's completely safe for family consumption. McNicholas and Neil Tiplady complement the action with an appropriately flashy and dramatic lighting scheme.

My review is late in arriving due to an illness I sustained-my apologies.

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Chris Gibson Chris has been active in the local theatre scene for over 30 years. In addition to his acting work, he's also contributed as a director, writer and composer. Though, initially a film buff, he grew tired of the sanitized, PG-13 rated blockbusters that were being continually shoved down his throat by the studios. An opportunity to review theatre in St. Louis has grown exponentially with the sudden explosion of venues and talent in the region. He now finds himself obsessed with witnessing those precious, electric moments that can only happen live, on stage.


 
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