Famed for its stunning drumming and
percussion, Luke Cresswall and Steve McNicholas’
Stomp hurtles along effortlessly from one set piece to another: the cast drum with kitchen sinks, tires and pots and pans, create rhythm from flickering lighters and use audience interaction to great effect.
Stomp begins quietly, though. A single performer, in the guise of a street cleaner, sweeps the stage with a brush, subtly turning this simple gesture into a pulsing drum solo. While the pace and verve only builds from here, Stomp remains unafraid to juxtapose quieter moments with the general vigour.
Stomp hurtles along effortlessly from one set piece to another: the cast drum with kitchen sinks, tires and pots and pans, create rhythm from flickering lighters and use audience interaction to great effect. The show’s soundtrack is entirely composed of the beats and rhythms generated by the performers, with no extra music. This soundtrack is complimented by impressive lighting, ensuring a fast-paced, visually and aurally dynamic production.
The set is composed of various pots and pans, dustbins and other miscellaneous items. Colourful, unusual and striking, it is much more than just a backdrop: throughout the performance it is scaled, beaten and brought to life by the cast.
Stomp’s vitality and energy keep the audience gripped; there may be no narrative, but the performers still have defined personalities, albeit some to a greater extent than others. A lot of the humour comes from these sketched relationships between the characters: there’s the arrogant one, the one for whom everything always goes wrong. The relationships seem natural and the humour makes the performers relatable, despite their inordinate talent.
The overriding impression is that the cast are having a blast: the energy and good nature is infectious. Stomp also has a uniquely universal appeal: in the performance I saw, the 40-something dad and nine-year-old boy behind me were both laughing equally as hard and as often.
Just before the show-stopping, bin-drumming finale, the show does lag a little: 100 minutes is a long time to sit still with no interval, especially on a weekday evening. That said, the mighty final set piece more than makes up for any slower moments that preceded it. The finale is a stunning moment of theatre, immersive and forceful and leaving you wanting more. It’s easy to see why Stomp has inspired such a cult following.