Stomp is the exhilarating and inventive theatre show that fuses rhythmic beats, soulful dance and profound expression to create an innovative physical performance. The concept was created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas who were members of a street band back in 1981. Now after many successful years, the smash hit, which was one of the longest running shows in London’s West End, has made its way to Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre.
The production, made up of just eight people, a few bins, old pans and matchsticks, was enough to transfix an audience that spanned all ages and provide them with a toe-tapping and mesmerising experience.
The stripped back staging enhances the hypnotic performances. Just one performer, along with the movement of his hands and feet, was enough to captivate the adoring crowd. Every inch of the stage was used from sand on the floor to car signs suspended on scaffolding above it. The lighting, in mainly red, white and blue, provided the association with the British flag, cleverly bringing Stomp back to its Brighton origins.
Despite not communicating verbally, the excellent execution of movement and expression meant each performer maintained a character of equal importance and talent. Most memorable however, was that of the ‘fool’. The scene in which he shone was one in which an everyday sink, complete with rubber gloves, was used to create an exhilarating beat. The ‘fool’s’ commitment to his character and his relationship with the audience, may leave some wishing they had brought an umbrella however. The simplicity in the narrative accompanied by its physical humour, make it both relatable and entertaining.
The stamina needed for such a physically demanding ninety minute show with no interval was to be commended. Although the show runs continuously it never loses momentum, transitioning seamlessly from a perfectly timed light show to fearless swinging from the scaffolding.
The audience was truly swept away and was made to feel part of the performance with the performers attempting to teach simple routines. However the technicality of clapping and stomping our feet became quickly apparent. Nevertheless this did not stop the crowd giving a standing ovation and applause that echoed throughout the theatre.
Maybe some leaving the show tonight will be smashing, clicking and banging their way to the sink next time they do they dishes in an attempt to recreate the fantastical rhythms so beautifully demonstrated by this accomplished cast.
‘Ordinary items, extraordinary talent!’ Janet, 51
‘I can’t wait to try and do this myself at home!’ Ben, 10
Click this link for production dates: http://www.stomp.co.uk/location/uk/