BWW Review: STOMP at the Moore Still Thrills ... For a Bit
Back in the late 80's and early 90's we witnessed the rise of theatrical shows that were all about making music and dance with everyday items and not so much about story. There was "The Blue Man Group", "Tap Dogs" and of course the mega-hit "Stomp". I will admit that in my youth, as a fledgling theatre geek, I was a complete disciple of the trash can lid and all things "Stomp". In fact, I even had (and still do have) an autographed trash can lid that was used in the show. Since then the show has continued to amble around the world and now some 20 plus years later it's made its way back to Seattle to the Moore Theatre. And the question I had when going to see it, "could it still hold that special place in my heart?" The answer ... kinda.
For those unfamiliar with the show, the premise is simple. A stage full of young, athletic performers, using everyday items to create a percussive melody. They sweep to make the beat, bang together trash cans and trash can lids, and pretty much use everything including the kitchen sink to make their music. Even something as small as a box of matches is incorporated into the act. Or even, at times, nothing at all only using themselves to keep the beat. They cavort about the stage in highly choreographed ways using standard theatrical group tropes. There's the leader and his ensemble, the few comedians of the group and of course the clown who keeps missing the mark or getting in the way but never quits.
Does the show live up to my memory? Yes, but maybe a bit too much. Not much has changed in 25 years. Sure, they've added a few new elements such as a bit with suitcases or a rotating barrage of items to challenge the leader. But for the most part it's the same show I remember. The exact same show. It's still fun and would be a great outing for people of all ages. There were more than a few kids in the audience who seemed to be having a great time. But I must add that at almost two hours long with no intermission, the show dragged on a bit. It could have been a half hour shorter and been much better. But they kept going and after that much time of the same kinds of things, they were almost literally beating a dead horse. At least for me, the appeal quickly died.
Not to say I hated the evening. I still had a fine time. I was still thrilled by the routines and the clown was hilarious. The men and women in the troupe knew how to work the audience and keep the energy up. Just after a while I felt like I'd seen it all and it was just more of the same. But then, for me, I had seen it.
So, does it still hold that place in my heart? Am I still a disciple of the Lid? Sure, I think I always will be. But more of a lapsed disciple who doesn't always attend services but still respects the spirit of the thing. If only services weren't so long. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give "Stomp" at the Moore Theatre a "well, that was a fun walk down memory lane" YAY-. But maybe it's me. Maybe the old adage of "If it's too loud, you're too old" is right, and I'm just too old.
"Stomp" performs at the Moore Theatre through December 8th. For tickets or information visit Seattle Theatre Group online at www.stgpresents.org.