Thoughts on STOMP

What: STOMP
Where: Comedy Theatre, Melbourne

Performances run until 6 May, 2018
For more information, please visit www.stomptour.com.au

Take eight performers,
Give them an array of everyday objects,
and see them create an impressive soundtrack of rhythm, theatre, comedy and dance.

That’s the premise of Lunchbox Theatrical ProductionsSTOMP.

At first, the show seems deceptively easy.

Armed with straw brooms, the first routine had me thinking, “please … I could do that!” But as the show goes on and the routines more complex; you appreciate the layers of complexity and wonder how they could possibly top the last awe-inspiring performance.

I can only imagine how much rehearsal is involved in a show of this calibre,
And never, was there a moment where I wasn’t impressed by the theatrics.

I especially enjoyed the routine with Zippo lighters. It an easy favourite, but second only to the bins and lids, monster truck inner tubing and the acrobatic saucepans. Your toes will be tappin’ and head boppin’ to percussion rhythms using such things as plastic and paper bags, matchboxes, sticks, basketballs, shopping trolleys, metal cans, newspapers, water bottles and even kitchen sinks – as well as sawdust, water and the human body.

There’s no talking during the show, just music and a chorus of claps, clicks and stomps, provided through audience participation. The set itself is grand, cluttered and dramatic, and reminiscent of a random junkyard. Performers wear complimenting cargo pants, goggles, boots and singlets street attire, with the flash of a tat, dreadlocks and man buns.

It was a sell-out when it last performed in Australia in 2013.
It’s currently on it’s 15th year in London’s West End, and its 24th year in New York.

There was children in the audience, who were laughing out loud with the rest of us; but it sat ill for me as I felt there is an underlining theme of bullying throughout the show. Self-deprecating humour aside, which I had no issues with, it felt justified to mock and humiliate them just for being a bit different, smaller and/or nerdy.

The show has been wowing audiences for over 25 years and I’m unsure how much of the show has changed since its early beginnings, but in this day and age, I don’t think there is a place for bullying. Perhaps I’m alone in my judgements towards the mistreatment of his character but I felt sorry for him – even though I am aware, it is all an act.

The friend I was with also expressed her disappointment of how the “fat” person tends to always be the brunt of jokes. This all hurts me to say too, because another of my favourite (and I dare say, funniest) routines (featuring newspapers) examples both that fat stigmatization and bullying. I think it would be a more complete show if tweaked for 2018.

However, despite these minor complaints, I highly enjoyed and recommend the show. Relatively short, it runs for approximately 105 minutes with no interval; this award-winning global phenomenon is energetic, creative, witty and loud.

Unlike traditional musicals that rely heavily on personal taste, STOMP caters to all ages notwithstanding genre preference. Perfect for any percussion fan; it’s an inspiration for those wanting to play music but can’t afford an instrument.

With an eight-show limited run in Melbourne, ending May 6th, STOMP will continue on to Gold Coast (31 May-3 June), Adelaide (6-10 June) and Sydney (31 July-5 Aug) during their Australian 2018 tour. Don’t miss it!

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