By Andrew Jack
9 February 1998 - Dance, percussion, mime, music, vaudeville. It
is difficult to describe to the uninitiated the British group "Stomp"
in a single word.
One by one, they come on stage dressed in
overalls, their brooms and clucked "hellos" gathering in
pace and volume as they turn apparently abstract sounds and gestures
into a coherent set of rhythms and movements to please eye and ear.
The theme of work-men and -women continues
throughout, with dustbins, saws, barrels and other everyday implements
being turned simultaneously into instruments and props.
collection of buckets is placed in an unexplained ring towards the
back of the stage and forgotten. A group comes on together, each with
an entire kitchen sink and draining board around the neck, which they
use to create a variety of carefully coordinated sounds.
edge backwards, each to stand over a bucket into which they drain the
water from the sink (one with a diminishingly productive succession of
trickles, droughts and squeezes best appreciated by male members of
They turn their bodies into full orchestras,
combining finger-clicking, hand movements, clapping and tapping of
legs and chest to create an impressive variety of sound.
one piece they use matchboxes as their drums; in another, in the dark,
they stand in a group successively and often frustratedly attempting
to ignite cigarette lighters in harmony.
Some of their best
numbers date from the original shows several years ago - such as a
drum combination orchestrated around a mock fight, as they make to
attack each other with dustbin lids. It was better - lengthier and far
more menacing - when I first saw it.
Some scenes reminded me
of treatments seen elsewhere: the splashing in the sink reminiscent of
the long-running New York Off Broadway show "Blue men"; a
man chased by giants with vicious metal batons, very similar to a
scene in a piece by a Polish theatre troupe performed at the Edinburgh
fringe two years ago.
Others looked a little too slick and
sophisticated, as the drummers climbed scaffolding like mountaineers,
to bang away on drums high on the stage.
And as for the stage itself. The Cigalle may be
intimate and "fun", but it is also hugely impractical for "Stomp",
at least for those on the balcony, where it only took a single selfish
individual or two to block the view for dozens of theatre-goers
The obscurity for those not near the front
was compounded by the direction, with many of the subtleties of
concealed for those with restricted views, as the performer were often
at the rear or to one side of the stage.
But Stomp is
something to be experienced. At least once.
be touring the United States and Canada throughout 1998.
hot-line has been established with regional dates and ticket information
at (212) 803 54 54.
There is also a Stomp website : http://www.usinteractive.com/stomp
Credit: Lois Greenfield
email to Andrew Jack |
Back to nouveau ]
Copyright © 1997 -1998 culturekiosque
If you value this page, please tell a friend or join our mailing list.
All Rights Reserved