This has to be a quick take on STOMP – because Stomp’s tour through San Antonio is so quick! (Just five performances, ending tomorrow night.)
I used to be something of a STOMP groupie; after catapulting to fame in the mid-1990s, STOMP seemed to be everywhere at once, and I caught its national tour on at least three occasions, dragging as many friends as I possibly could to see it. Then, as now, it’s sort of hard to explain STOMP (which is a large part of its appeal): it’s a combination of dance, circus, music, and theater without being easily identifiable as any of them. (You can get better sense of the evening from the video here.) In short: a group of eight performers pound away on household objects—paint cans, inner tubes, matchboxes, broomsticks—as if musical instruments, with ever-increasing sophistication and virtuosity: a sequence with flying basketballs is simply astounding. It’s the music of the everyday world, transformed into brilliant symphonies of sound.
Now STOMP has now been stomping around for nearly 20 years—even spawning STOMP wannabees like the hunky Aussie group TAP DOGS—but as Friday evening’s performance proved, it still can’t be bettered. And it’s not just that the choreography—by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas—remains entertaining and inspired, but that the evening overwhelms with you with the sheer amount of talent on display. (I normally loathe ‘audience participation’ segments—give me the fourth wall, or give me death—but STOMP’s invitation to clap along is a stroke of genius: it only takes 20 seconds for the audience to realize it can’t even pull off eight bars of music, much less a full-length concert.) There’s plenty of humor—it’s a great show for kids—and the intermission-less concert flies by. If you’ve never STOMP’ed before, then by all means, go. Performances are 2pm and 8pm Saturday, and 2pm and 7pm on Sunday, all at the Majestic downtown.
-Thomas “Can’t even snap my fingers” Jenkins, Current theatre critic.