Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Enduring Shows That Still Pack in the Crowds in the Hands of 'Stomp,' Everyday Objects Become the Makings of a Symphony

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Enduring Shows That Still Pack in the Crowds in the Hands of 'Stomp,' Everyday Objects Become the Makings of a Symphony

Article excerpt

'Stomp" beckons you to be a little kid again. Remember when your parents gave you pots and pans to bang on New Year's?

Brooms scraping the floor, hubcaps clanging, matchboxes shaking, even plastic bags crumpling can all be part of an exercise in rhythm - or, as in the case of "Stomp," an exhilarating theater experience.

Think drum-and-bugle corps, but without the bugles and drumming on anything but traditional drums - all choreographed into an exquisite percussion sensation. As co-founder Luke Cresswell says, we "make a rhythm out of anything we can get our hands on that makes a sound." "This show keeps you on the edge of your seat," remarked Carol Campomizzi after seeing "Stomp" for the first time in Boston. "It had rhythm, it was funny, and very creative." "Stomp" has come a long way since the act gained ground in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 1991. Today, it claims sellout performances worldwide, numerous theater awards, commercials, movie soundtracks, and an appearance at last year's Academy Awards. (An HBO special featuring its work is scheduled to air Dec. 6 at 8 p.m.) The company has branched into several troupes, one of which is now stomping across the United States. But what's behind the enduring appeal of "Stomp" is not just its uncanny ability to deliver timely percussion in compelling and innovative ways. It is its playfulness. One number features three men wearing ski boots fitted to oil drums - almost a huge version of tin-can stilts. Troupe members often pantomime small plots and express emotions. If five people sit down to read newspapers, one might start making noise with his. Those around him frown, looking at him as if he's some sort of street freak. But before you know it, one of the onlookers starts his own rhythm, and one by one the others follow suit. …

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