Touring – reviewed at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
Guest reviewer: Sarah Miatt
Stomp is a unique show made up of comedy, percussion and dance and has been about in some way shape or form for almost 30 years, but actually started 10 years earlier as a collaboration between the creators Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas. Through percussion using household items and street comedy, the show was formed and performed at festivals such as the Edinburgh Festival before becoming the large-scale show performed today. Now, there are up to five Stomp companies performing at any one time worldwide.
Despite its longevity and its heavy presence in the theatre scene, the ‘Stomp Phenomenon’ passed me by. I had never seen it and was somewhat apprehensive that 100 minutes of people banging buckets wouldn’t be that interesting. I was soon proven wrong, it is so much more than that and was possibly one of the most spectacular and immersive pieces of theatre I have ever seen.
With zero dialogue, this production is perfect for people of all nationalities and all walks of life. It is really impossible to classify it as it is a mix of so many genres. Music, dance, gymnastics and comedy. It is visually understated but spectacular at the same time. The two tiered set, resembling a building site or junkyard was impressive and I am not exaggerating when I say every inch of that set and every prop was played as a musical instrument at some stage of the show. The lighting was superb and was able to change the whole mood with a click of a button. At some points, it was able to cast shadows of the performers around the auditorium making you feel surrounded.
The group of insanely talented performers were all dressed as builders and I have never seen an ensemble so in tune with each other. As the only source of sound and movement the show was entirely dependant on them and one wrong drum beat or sweep of a brush would have caused it to come undone. From the impressive tap dances, to drumming huge, oversized rubber rings, from playing sinks by rubbing rubber gloved hands on the draining board to using shopping trolleys to create a percussion orchestra, this team were perfect in every way. They had wonderful comic timing and facial expressions through a series of sketches, they used stage combat in some parts and what could be described as extreme Morris Dancing in others.
With it’s high energy and the ability to make you feel the beat to your soul this show truly is for everyone. Even if, like me, you feel a little apprehensive I would recommend everyone see this show. I defy anyone not to enjoy it. Book here
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