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I saw the amazing STOMP crew at Nottingham's Theatre Royal just the other day. What can I say but truly amazing! It all starts in a low-key sort of way and just builds and builds from that point for just over 100 minutes without a break! Amongst all of the amazing routines is the wonderfully charming sense of fun that they put across to the audience. One guy in particular (The 'clown' with the mad hair) Just stole the show with his prat-falls and wonderful comedic timing. The sounds they produced were stunning. Their used of everyday items is just a joy to behold: everything from broom handles to oil drums, foam insulating tubes to cigarette lighters and of course their own bodies! And ours too! yes, we get to join in too which makes the evening even more special! It has to be one of the best nights out at the theatre I've ever had. If you've seen these guys on TV/DVd etc then I have to say that you haven't 'really' seen them - you've got to experience this show live in a theatre. It really is something to behold!
I went to see this with my Mother as a birthday present and at first i wasn't sure if i was going to enjoy it. After realising there won't be any talking during the performance, i remember thinking "Well this is going to be boring", when in fact it was incredibly AMAZING. The way they put the performance together, creating unique and incredible music and sounds using the most unusual objects was just brilliant. You couldn't imagine that a performance put together simply using brooms, bins, tubes etc and no talking would be fascinating, when in fact it was genius! As well as all the music, they incorporate some humorous comedy into the act, which is another great aspect to the musical. The stage was incredible and the performers energetic and enjoyable to watch. You leave the show wanting to watch it again and again which got me to buy the DVD which i watched as soon as i got home from the show. Its definitely worth the money to go and watch this, i would recommend it to anyone.
Last night, my husband and I took advantage of a '2 for 1' deal on tickets for the opening night of the musical theatre production of Stomp in Belfast. We didn't know much about the production, but we had been recommended it by someone who had previously went to see it in one of the London theatres. The production of Stomp that we saw involved 8 young adults, made up mostly of men, with a couple of females in there as well, who perfom, without words, and instead using a vast array of make shift instruments made out of anything and everything such as dustbin lids, brushes, tube piping, kitchen sinks etc. The performance lasts approx an hour and a half, and there was no interval during hte performance which meant that the performers were on stage almost continually, since most scenes used all 8 people. The opening scene began with one of the 8 performers sweeping up the stage using a brush/broom. He is then slowly joined by the others all carrying brushes, and they gradually build noises made by the brooms through brushing or stomping them to creat their very own music. There is no background tune, it is purely the noise made by the make shift instruments they use. It really needs to be seen to appreciate the amount of practice that it takes for each person do use their own brush in the right way to add to the rhythm and at the right time. A wdie range of scenes followed, as I said, using various instruments, however, it is not simply 8 performers standing up on stage hitting instruments, there are comical moments thrown in througout, as although there are no words in this performance, the performers use facial and hand gestures, as well as body movements to create drama. Some of the most memorial scenes of the night were when some of the perfomers hung from ropes to play some of the various drum style instruments places on wire mesh racks, and could move around to hit the various instruments at just to right time to add to the foot tapping rhythm. We also very much enjoyed the scene with the kitchen sinks and the water, and also the last scene, when a mix of drums and dustbins lids were used. There is also great interaction with the audience which creates a great fun environment, ideal for children and families, perfomers encouraged the crowd to join in with some of the clapping rhthyms. The rhythms produced by all the different make shift instruments during the performance is incredible and reminded me of tribal dances in Africa. Each of the perfomers are obviously incredibly musical with a great sense of rhythm and they are all full of energy. All in all, to really appreciate this terrific production, you really need to go and see it. It is also nice that it is a show that children will love, as there were lots of children in the audience last night, and they were all mesmorised by what was on stage. You don't need to be musical to appreciate the rhythm that they can make with the different things and you realise how much time and effort must have went into practicing to coordinate all the rhythms together to make all the various catchy rhythms. A great performance.
This was the first production I saw in London, it was quite random just walked to Leicester Square and they had cheap tickets (about £20) and I'd heard of it and seen it on Blue Peter several years ago so we decided to go for it. I wasn't really sure what to expect from the show. Having seen it on Blue Peter I could remember the actors with dustbin lids and sinks and making 'music' with these. But beyond this I wasn't really sure, they couldn't make a whole show just out of this - could they? The show itself was without any words or lyrics and is a group of people using everyday, mainly household, objects in order to entertain and captivate the audience. For example they use dustbins lids and dustbins, the old metal type, to create a whole range of noise - banging the lids on each other, using wooden sticks for another sound effect and banging the bins on the floor. Another act had them with sinks hung 'round their necks and using water (and maybe washing up liquid) to create a squeeky effect as they used their fingers and the water to rub on the edge of the sink. I really didn't think that this would be the whole show. I thought that there would be more to it than just people using things to create noise!! However, although this was what the whole show was I wasn't once bored or thinking that it was too long. In fact, the time flew by. it was intriguing to see how they were creating the noise and also you were left wondering what they were going to come on stage with next! The show is suitable for people of all ages and languages as there is no language involved. The show will appeal to children as it can show what fun you can have with various objects - mops, sinks, dustbins etc and for adults it will just entertain. The show was none stop from start to finish, keeping you interested and wondering what they were going to come on stage with next. The show is quite hard to describe but I suppose that I'd say a kind of dance show using everyday objects as props and instruments. The show has now gone on tour, I'm unsure if it's still in London. It is touring to my home town and we're talking of going to see it again - something I rarely do with theatre shows! I just imagine every show being that bit different and something that has no story line so you really don't know what's coming next. One for all the family!
What makes you go out in the first place and then choose a certain play or performance and not another? When I was in London in July with a group of students my colleague and I decided to take in as many cultural events as possible after our official sightseeing programme. One afternoon we`d been to the Hindu Temple in Neasden, the students had gone back to the city centre and we went to the Indian supermarket nearby. We forgot the time browsing and musing on such profound questions as how long we`d have to live if we wanted to use up a kilo of hot curry powder. When we finally were on our way back we became nervous, time was running out. We were already too late for the plays starting at 7.30 pm, some plays starting at 8 pm were in theatres too far away, what now? We flicked through Time Out and What`s On and came upon `Stomp`. The description didn't tell us much, my colleague interpreted what she read as a show of tap-dancing men. Tap-dancing men? Why should I pay to see something weird like that? But she talked me round it with the argument ``When it`s in the West End it must be good!`` and that it was in the Vaudeville Theatre on the Strand which we could reach on time if we got off at Charing Cross and ran. When we arrived out of breath two minutes before the show started, I must have looked completely knocked out because I was offered an OAP`s concession ticket although I am still this side of 60. Ha! I took it, of course. There was no curtain, the stage showed an inner city slummy backyard of the kind we know from innumerable American films, surprisingly the writings on the walls were all in German! Don`t ask me why, there was nothing else only faintly German in the whole show. A shabbily dressed man with a broom appeared and started sweeping the stage. After some seconds he started sweeping rhythmically, then other men came looking like garbage collectors and street bums with brooms and swept along with him. One man turned the broom and began knocking on the floor with the wooden edge a-syncopically, others followed and there was a constant sweeping and knocking, then one of them began stamping his feet, others followed, they all had heavy boots on, the sweeping, knocking and stamping was perfectly coordinated, what the men created was a rhythmic ballet of sound, it became a kind of music. Tap-dancing men, my back bottom! Many scenes of the kind followed, the objects the six men and two women (they were not always all together on the stage) used were everyday objects like pipes, garbage pail lids, oil drums, wooden tea chests, kitchen sinks, plastic carrier bags, cigarette lighters, water coolers and toilet plungers. We saw a movement of bodies, objects and sounds - no speech, not even a plot. There is no meaning in the performance, no message, no political connotations, it's just a deafening bombardment of noise which you`d normally run away from, but here it is presented so brilliantly that one can`t be but fascinated. But no, not all scenes of the 100 minutes performance are an aural attack. The back of the stage is a wall made of trash, mostly parts of cars, hubs and rims, doors, window frames and the like. In one scene two men hang in harnesses suspended from above in front of the wall and move along it, clicking and hammering carefully on the objects producing ethereal sounds which one would normally associate with a porcelain glockenspiel. In another scene one men and the two women sit on a threshold poking in a trash can, they find plastic bags, blow them up and rub them gently with their fingers producing very soft sounds, suddenly there`s romance in the backyard. Londoners are spoilt, why should they react enthusiastically when a performance is brilliant? They`re used to getting only the very best in all fields, I`ve watched them applaud politely after plays which would pull Continental European audiences from thei r seats and behave like mad. STOMP was the first performance I saw which made the audience behave `continentally`, people shouted, cheered, hoorayed, whistled, howled! (or maybe there were many foreigners present?) STOMP was created in Brighton in 1991 by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, it then went to London's Bloomsbury Theatre and the Assembly Rooms at Edinburgh, where it became the Guardian?s `Critic`s Choice` and won the Daily Express `Best of the Fringe` reward. Between 1991 and 1994 the original cast of STOMP toured around the world, an expanded version involving up to 30 players performed at the Acropolis in Athens and at the Royal Festival hall in London where it broke all box office records. In 1994 the first American cast was formed, in 1995 two more American productions were created which have been touring the US to this day. In 1997 a fifth STOMP company was formed in the UK and has consistently toured the world ever since. STOMP has played to eight million people in 31 countries. `The international hit performance-dance rhythm meisters` started in the Vaudeville in September 2002, the closing is `open-ended` according to the programme. Do you know why there are so many musicals in London running for ages? London is visited by millions of tourists, not all of them speak good English and could follow a play, so what do they choose on their evening out? Right, a musical. For STOMP not even basic English is necessary, so I don`t really know why it shouldn`t run until Doomsday. I hope to be in London again in 2005 and although my time is very limited there I know I`ll go to see STOMP another time! Performances: Monday closed Tuesday to Friday 8 pm Saturday 3 pm & 8 pm Sunday 3 pm Prices from 15 to 37.50 GBP for reductions see: www.thisistheatre.com/londonshows/stomp.html
STOMP has no words - everyone can understand it. It has little or no melody in the traditional sense, so it doesn't matter if your taste in music is jazz, classical, dance or pop. STOMP is about rhythm, which is common to all cultures. Everyone knows rhythm, if only from the beating of their own heart - it is the basis of all music.