Stomping to the rhythm

Juana Esquivel

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STOMP beats out a rhythm using broom handles and trashcan lids. Photo courtesy of BroadwayLA media.

Star rating: 5 out of 5

With the rhythms and sounds out of everyday objects, STOMP will leave you amazed, energized, and stomping for more.

Although there is no official storyline, STOMP is a unique performance done by eight individuals that share their passion for music and rhythm.

The diverse cast includes six men and two women that appear to be friends hanging out at a junkyard.

They start off their 90 minute show by sweeping, then they create a rhythm with each of their brooms and what appears to be sand on the floor. Soon, after they realize their steady on-going beat, they turn over their brooms and continue their rhythm with their broomsticks. Here the beat shifts from soft and mellow to fast and intense. The fierce beat of the broomsticks hitting the stage makes it seem as if they were playing drums.

The following performance has the cast casually holding small boxes of matches and lighters. One of the male performers begins filing his fingernails with a box of matches. Others open and close their lighters. This makes a scratchy and snapping sound that they all follow. Before they know it, they all begin to create a harmonious rythm.

The end of this performance leaves the auditorium dark and the audience asking for more.

More than a dozen other performances follow each with a different set of “instruments” that include steel chairs, kitchen sinks, trash cans, wheels, pipes, poles, newspapers and banana peels.

One of these performances has some of the cast up on the second floor of thejunkyard setting. After another brief auditorium darkness, four of the performers appear hanging from a steel wall and facing pots and pans, plastic bins, and other steel objects hanging on the wall. They all create a musical act by hitting everything they have in front of them with what seems like drumsticks and by doing physical tricks such as bouncing from the wall and back.

This, like most of the show’s performances, looks almost unrehearsed. It seems like the cast just has a really good ear for rhythm and follow along to each other’s beats.

The performance also has humor. Because there is no spoken dialogue in the entire show, the comedy is visual.
One of the acts that received the most laughs involved pages from a newspaper. In this scene, a performer creates a grass skirt out of the newspaper and begins to dance with it on. He then grabs a cup that he has next him, puts it in his mouth while making wings out of the newspaper, he pretends to be a bird.

The show is also highly interactive. In several of the acts, the performers invite the audience to clap, snap, and stomp along with them.

It is a simple and humble show. No fancy sets and equipment. No crazy costume changes — just the usage of everyday objects.

The show does not fail to deliver and give the audience the worth of their money and time.

STOMP performer, Donisha Brown, who has been on and off with the show for 11 years said STOMP began 18 years ago when creators Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas were street performers in England. They got the idea for STOMP when they wanted to find other ways to play percussions.

Ever since, STOMP has appeared internationally. Brown said it currently has productions in New York City, London, Los Angeles, and in other European cities.

She also said the cast trains for four to eight weeks and there is 12 people in each production although only eight appear on stage in one show.

Brown, who appears on stage five to six times a week, said the wonderful thing about their show is interacting with the audience.

“What I enjoy most of our show is that the audience is part of the show” she said.

She also said that the lack of dialogue helps them communicate with the audience.

“Our dialogue is music,” Brown said. “You can often communicate better with music which allows us to travel around the world”.

I recommend this show to anyone. Men will enjoy this show not only because there is no sappy love story to follow because of the martial arts type of tricks and stunts. Women will feel empowered by the two female performers that execute at the same level and as much as the men do. Children will enjoy the visual comedy and will be entertained by the performers’ ability to create music and rhythm out of anything.

If you like to dance, you will enjoy this show as it will make you want to get up from your seat and make you want to stomp your feet.

STOMP will be performing through Feb.7 at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood located on 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 90028.