Percussion, Innovation, Fun
Stomp
Review by Ross Anthony

Broom sweep, thump thump. The solo stage sweeper is joined by another and another until twelve or so rhythmic janitors are spinning and sticking out a lovely interesting beat. Then, using the top end of the handle against the floor, a military march. They circle sweep around one performer with an upside-down broom in each hand, like ski poles, tapping out a gargling rattle that sounds (and feels) like a Harley-Davidson engine firing up at the local diner.

The bi-level set stacks oil cans and pans, tin, plastic, aluminum vertical up against corrugated metal and chain-link fencing. Though somewhat 2-dimensional it fills the entire back stage, leaving plenty of horizontal plane upon which to stomp, tap and dance. The lighting fills out the third dimension.

Match sticks slide from side to side inside slick little boxes held in the hands of the four dancers. Finger taps chance on the outside of the cardboard. Each dancer takes their turn at their cute little riff, often a cheap gag, anything but stiff. Comedic, relaxed, off the cuff, the audience loves it.

A solo dancer takes the stage. Just him and his muscles, clapping hands, stamping feet, slapping thighs, snapping fingers. CLAP CLAP. He communicates audience participation without words. Only sounds and actions. The entire show, only sounds and actions. Percussion and movement. We readily join in. He plays with our hesitation, mocks our imperfection, we love his playful leadership.

Sprinkle sawdust and slide. The one with hair like a dandelion ready to spore, lifts his shirt and smacks his jolly belly to punctuate. The audience breaks up in laughter.

Two crawl out on stage with a small brush and dustpan, clicking and panging. A third kicks up a foot-lifting-lid kitchen trash can. The lid rocking up and down as the other two toss in sawdust. The humor is that of Laurel and Hardy.

A single player walks out on stage, sits in the silence. A four-foot long rubber tube rolls out in front of him. He taps on it every which way unsatisfactorily, then finally drops it to the floor bringing a sweet soft gasp of a tone. Another player joins him with a short tube, some suggested humor, nudge nudge wink wink, he drops his ... a higher pitched pop. Six others join, each with a tube of different length. Together they sound like the plucked strings of a piano. Truly wonderful. Magical. The lightness of tone providing the perfect contrast to the stomp.

Kitchen sinks hung from their necks with chains, four yellow-scrubbing-glove-wearing performers start a post-dinner clamor that crescendo's with splashes and bathroom humor. Innovative and fun!

Continuing on the washroom theme, toilet plungers are stuck and pulled from the floor with sucks and pocks in syncopation. Again, the soft sounds complement STOMP's glorious pounding.

Wielding seven-foot dowels, the dancers rampage, backlit, their shadows march cross the theaters sidewalls. Warriors, primal, yet, exotic. Then in a spin the dowels catch the light in an illusion mimicking long boat oars.

Again in contrast, the performers make child's play sounds of small garage tools: paint scrapers, a tape measure, a saw.

Lights down, blue accent catches empty spinning water jugs that are quickly nabbed off the floor and patted, tapped, tossed and spun again. The jugs' tones are soft and in some odd hollow harmony bring to mind the background vocals of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" ... you know ... a weemaway, a weemaway.

Then pitch dark and the second most magical part of the show. Click, flick, flame. Click, flick, flame. Blanketed by shadow, the dancers make a sweet soft delicate firefly chorus of flip lighters. If wind-chimes were to marry stars ... these would be their children.

Segue to spelunking in the dark. Lights bring the second level into action. A brief quiet, then two dancers hanging like twin pendulums, sway back and forth clicking out the intro chimes of Pink Floyd's "Time." Eventually, the junkyard drum set pounds to action. Rim shots. Big stomps. Until the two on the string repel, drum, kick into a climax of pound, clang and smash. Awesome!

Perfectly apropos after such a magnificent clamor, a single player shuffles silently across to center stage and indifferently opens a magazine. Eventually, he's joined by a gang of mischievous news readers, more often ruffling, whisking and playing with the paper than reading it. Again, the humor of Charlie Chaplin comes to mind.

Basketball rhythms, jack and the box hoppers, dancers with oil can shoes (ski boots glued to the tops of garbage cans) walk, dance, stick. They look splendidly tall in contrast.

Three loiterers rummage through the garbage for the best sound-making piece of trash: a soup can, a plastic bag, a Styrofoam cup and straw. Quietly bringing their trio to a steam train's Choo Choo Choo.

Finally, the famous trash-can-lid dancers. Twisting and turning, though still limited, the most dance-oriented piece of the night. Like gladiators, they spin and brandish their shields, reflecting the light. Clanging against other dancers in a well-choreographed segment that evolves into a full stage, bi-level dance jam. Heavy deep double bass kegs fill out the sound range, polling strolling spotlights swapping focal points, bringing the show to a well-rounded conclusion.

Serving as an encore, the audience participation routine is reprised, developed, played with, an aural training class in percussion. Then just to be cute, the dandelion walks on stage in bathroom, surprised to find we're still there.

A strong show of percussion, happily dismissing the spoken word, sprinkled with invention and silent film humor. (Performed without intermission, just shy of 90 minutes.)

(Related reviews: "Tap Dogs" "Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk.")



  • Stomp. Copyright © 2003.
  • Starring Kekoa Bayang, Khalid Freeman, Tomas Fujiwara, Richard Giddens, Fritzlynn Hector, Tonya Kay, Noah Mosgofian, John Sawicki, Sophia Sharp, Carlos "Peaches" Thomas, Elizabeth Vidos, Rick R. Willett.
  • Created and Directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas.
  • Produced by Columbia Artists Management, Inc.


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Thursday, 21-Oct-2010 16:25:44 PDT