Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Stomp"

THE THEATER MIRROR, Boston's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

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entire contents copyright 1997 by "Angel"


Reviewed by "Angel"

Created and Directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas

Morris Anthony, Maria Emilia Breyer, Miles Lazarus Crawford, Sean Curran, Steven Dean Davis, Marivaldo Dos Santos, Raquel Horsford, Peter-Michael Marino, Warren Richardson, Henry Shead, Seth Ullian, Sheilynn Wactor

Lighting by Steve McNicholas and Neil Tiplady

Stomp website:

It's good.. Go see it. (Pardon the bluntness, but I personally hate to read a review and STILL not know what the reviewer thinks of it :)

This show begs the question - How musical are you? No one, it seems, could possibly be as musical as these folks, who manage to make music from street brooms to Zippo lighters to paper and plastic bags to even the kitchen sink. At least that's what I thought at first as I watched in awe, amazed along with everyone else by the incredible pick-up rhythm of the performers. My thoughts then began to oscillate between, "No one is as rhythmic as they are.." to "But I can do THAT!" back and forth and back and forth, until the encore when one performer, the audience director (Miles Lazarus Crawford), teaches us- the audience- how to begin our own sojourn. He leads us by example on a rhythmic journey of our own which, at least the night I saw it (Nov. 7th), was actually very successful and most certainly lots of fun.

As we, the audience- now under our own direction- departed the theatre, we tried to make music on everything in our path - the floor, the seats, each other's backs. Hardly anyone exitted quietly in the stereotypical high-brow "I've just been to the (nose-in-air) theatre" manner. Not that I see that much anyhow, but often people are reserved and calm, relaxed from a nice show-- NOT at this one-- we were charged up, energized, revitalized, awakened to the potentials of ourselves and our musicality! Everyone was musical, or trying to be, and everyone seemed to be having FUN! Leaving the theatre in the rain made for great fun stomping and splashing in puddles. My friend and I began a stomp pattern that two other couples- strangers who were also at the show - mimicked and we had our own little street performance as we walked to our cars in the cold wet rain. It was quite amazing and entirely inspired by the show. --But back to the show :)

I don't think we can call Stomp theatre, although it's billed as a Broadway show.. It is music and dance and performance. It has characters and a theme, though no cohesive plot. There are no words spoken throughout the show, though grunts and body sounds contribute. Within each "scene" there is a bit of a story, but the basic idea seems to be this "Hmm. I wonder if I can make music with this?" The performer tries to do so, succeeds, others notice and are impressed. They try it and can do it, too. They like it so they continue doing it, seemingly spontaneously working together to create interesting patterns of sound and movement with the object- the music builds to a crescendo and then slows to a close. This is a theme which binds the whole together, but it does get very repetitive as we see it over and over and over, drumming the idea into our heads. The objects change, the pitch and rhythm change, the style changes a bit, we get to know the characters' personalities a bit more, or a least a couple of them, the patterns get a bit more complex, but overall it is the same idea. If redundancy bothers you, this might. Each piece is new, but is it new enough? After the first few objects we get the idea, or at least I did. Despite its redundancy, the tact clearly worked, as evidenced by the audience response clear down the street.

As I listened to the reverberating LOUD sounds of many, but not all pieces, I was very grateful I didn't have a headache. If you have a headache the night you are planning to go see the show, I recommend you give a friend the gift of your ticket or you might not forgive yourself.

This show reminded me of Blue Man Group. If you saw that and enjoyed it, I think you will like this show. Likewise, if you see this one and like it, definitely go see Blue Man Group. Stomp is to music and rhythm what Blue Man Group is to creativity. They have the power to change your lives. And isn't that what good theatre is about?


"Stomp" (till 30 November)
Tremont Street, BOSTON

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide