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BWW Review: STOMP at the National Theatre

BWW Review: STOMP at the National Theatre
Stomp. Photo by Steve McNicholas.

For 25 years now the percussion spectacular known as Stomp has been making beautiful noise all over the world. This high-octane audible feast is back in town at the National Theatre for a week and the historic rafters are shaking from the melodious vibrations Stomp brings with it.

As you might know, Stomp performers create rhythms and beats with any objects that generate sound. It could be a newspaper or a cigarette lighter - two examples of things that make subtle sounds - or something that makes bigger and louder sounds, such as aluminum bathroom sinks, trash cans (including the lids), an industrial jungle gym comprised of stop signs, and waste barrels and more.

The nine cast members at my performance (they rotate in and out) were extremely talented and versatile - you have to be just that to successfully do what is asked of you in Stomp. There is no dialogue in the show so you have to be able to express yourself with your body and the sound-making object. The very talented ensemble at my performance included Artis Olds, Cade Slattery (who was the butt of all the jokes), Krystal Renee, Kayla Cowart, Steve Weiss, Joe White, Cary Lamb, Jonathon Elkins, and (the man keeping the show in top notch shape on tour) Jeremy Price.

Each sequence of the show is pretty incredible, but the one that stood out the most featured a full cast concerto of cigarette lighters. The glows were in perfect rhythm. Think for a second how such a small object can make such a big impact on an audience. They did.

Subtlety is great, but there is also nothing like a wall of sound that overtakes you. There is no better example of this than when the cast played a symphony on many garbage cans. You felt the vibration in your seat.

As ridiculous as this is going to sound, the show actually didn't seem as loud to me as it did the last time I saw it at the National Theatre. Maybe I am just accustomed to the soundscape having a little bit more of a piercing quality to it. There is still plenty of volume throughout the show though. It just feels a little more manageable.

The lighting design by Steve McNicholas and Neil Tiplady builds. If a performer is doing something subtle, they are sometimes low lit or in a single spot. When the stage explodes sound wise, the lights burst with multiple color washes.

If you've seen Stomp before it's definitely worth another look. There have probably been some changes since you last saw it. If you are a Stomp virgin all I can say is MAKE SOME NOISE AND ENJOY!!

Running Time: One Hour and 40 minutes with no intermission

Stomp runs through April 28, 2019 at the National Theatre, which is located at1321 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC. For tickets, click here.

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