There aren’t many touring shows that can boast of a twenty-two year longevity, but the smash percussive/dance/comedy show Stomp has been at it since 1995 in the US along. The show is currently taking up a short residence at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre through March 19 before hitting the road once again. But, you may ask, what exactly is Stomp?
To be honest, I had no idea what to expect outside of a bunch of people banging on every day objects to create their own particular brand of music. And, of course, that is just where it starts with the cast of eight performances making their entrances on stage with brooms, using the sweeping sounds, and the broom itself as an instrument. Anyone can bang a broom on the floor, but it takes a special talent to use the brooms so rhythmically to create music.
Stomp moves to a quieter note when the performers use such mundane things as matchboxes, corrugated tubing and lighters to create an aural and visual cacophony that is mesmerizing and thrilling. They then move on to kitchen sinks, plastic buckets, metal trash cans and lids, newspapers, large plastic barrel and large metal drums (attached to ski boots!) to create amazing percussive sounds that, at their loudest, you can feel beating in your chest.
But it’s not just all about the music. The performers also make music with their feet in some amazingly choreographed numbers that also require them to keep rhythm with their wooden poles and trash can lids and with each other as they often use each others’ “instruments” to make their music. One number that may make you hold your breath involves the cast tapping on and tossing small metal cans to one another sometime in a circle, sometimes back and forth, with multiple cans crossing in mid-air. It’s a miracle (and lots of skill) that none of the cans collided and not a single one was dropped.
And with the dance and music, there is also comedy with one cast member in particular(here played by Guido Mandozzi) bringing a lot of comic relief to the show, and quickly becoming the audience favorite with his antics. What’s great about the show is that while none of the cast members ever speaks, you know what’s going on when they are communicating with each other and with the audience. And if you love an audience participation show, you will love Stomp. Practice your rhythmic clapping now!
In addition to Mandozzi, the rest of the cast members (at this particular show) include Andrew Brought (who seems to be sort of the show’s ringleader), Jonathon Elkins, Alexis Juliano, Kris Lee, Manny Osoria, Krystal Renée (who is simply the fiercest person on that stage), and Ivan Salazar. Other performers include Simeon Weedall, Cade Slattery, Artis Olds and John Angeles. All of them are rhythmically and physically talented beyond comprehension and earn a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the show.
If you’re unsure if Stomp is the kind of show you’d enjoy, let me be the one to tell you — since I was unsure myself — that you will be awed by what these people can do. Stomp is a vibrant, kinetic stage experience that you won’t forget. And you may just find yourself making your own beautiful music the next time you’re washing dishes.
Future stops for Stomp include Wilmington, NC; Reading, PA; Stamford, CT; Pittsburgh, PA; Roanoke, VA; Fort Meyers, FL; Phoenix, AZ and more! You can find the tour dates ont the show’s website, or check our Ticketmaster link below for ticket availability in your city.