STOMP
ANYTHING CAN BE A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
By MIKE ROSS, SPECIAL TO THE EDMONTON SUN

There's one question to ask when considering an 18-year-old percussion/street theatre phenomenon known as Stomp that's been here three, maybe even four times - what the hell are they going to bang on this time?

Garbage cans? Zippo lighters? Kitchen sinks? Been there, dented that.

Is this thing ever going to go away? It seems not. It started another six-night run at the Jubilee Auditorium last night. The folks love it.

If you've never experienced the thrill and mirth of Stomp, by all means, go. What do they do, you may ask? They stomp, of course.

Eight post-apocalyptic street mimes combine percussion, modern dance and slapstick comedy for a polyrhythmic spectacle that explores the acoustical properties of junk. Anything can make music if you really want it to.

Various unlikely objects are turned into percussion instruments - from brooms to matchbooks to buckets to rubber gloves on sheet metal - for intricate, impressive routines that invariably end in a great big STOMP, just as Riverdance always winds up in a giant Irish kickline, just as Lynyrd Skynyrd always has to do Sweet Home Alabama.

Stomp's predictability does not make it any less entertaining. Deft comic touches save the show from being a 90-minute drum solo to a blind man.

Each of these gifted ragamuffins sports a distinct character - such as the scruffy one, the other scruffy one, the prankster, the muscle dude, the bubbly girl and the most important comic relief of them all, the class clown. He drew most of the laughs on opening night.

Milking the crowd with sex appeal he does not possess is funny. Likening a hunk of rubber PVC tube to his penis is even funnier.

So were the four guys draining their shoulder-mounted kitchen sinks as if they were peeing. I'm sensing a theme here.

Some of the cast managed to combine humour with jaw-dropping skill, like the guy who slapped himself silly for two minutes, suffering for your entertainment.

When one runs out of things to bang on, one's own body will suffice. The flying chalk dust was a nice touch.

The appearance of madly tapping brooms and dustpans to clean up spilled sand was also the kind of thing this show does best: Laugh while you marvel at the astounding skill it takes to create music with nothing more than a broom and a dustpan. Well, if not music, at least a cool beat.
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