I have to be the first to admit that I was skeptical of this show and how long I would be able to watch an ensemble make music out of random objects. Stomp is not at all this. Instead, it is a production that utilises noise, rhythm, comedy, dance, pantomime and light to provoke a narrative.
From match stick boxes and lighters to broom sticks and rubber rings, it is these everyday objects that help to make this show so sensational. The show is fundamentally a series of devised sketches in which different performers use different objects to make a noise, motif or pattern that tells a story of some sort. Although there are no defining ‘characters’ one performer shone throughout, there were some brilliant moments created from the pantomime esque individual who could not quite keep up. This turns into a beautiful message about music being for everyone and is further heightened as the audience is invited to create their own rhythms and beats with the performers. This sense of community and belonging is something that Stomp brings to an audience and allows for a mutual understanding of each other through music without the barriers of language, race or opinions- a motif particularly apparent in current contemporary world issues.
Contrast is key to the success of this show. Moments of sheer noise in the show have a very tribal, confrontational feel between the cast, notably in the louder scenes with bins and sticks which are contrasted nicely with delicate scenes where 3 performers pull items out of a bin bag and experiment with the noises they can make. This contrast keeps audience’s intrigue as to what they will do next. The movement and direction throughout was simply awe inspiring and there were many moments of thunderous applause.
Light (from Steve McNicholas) is also used ingeniously throughout the show, with audience murmurings of 'wow' incredibly apparent. Stomp is a show for everyone; you simply cannot miss it on its international tour (running at the Warwick Arts Centre until Saturday 4 February and in London for its 13th year).
It is uniquely stunning and an experience you will never re-live.
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