Stomp makes garbage sound good
The international hit Stomp premiered at the Benedum Center in downtown Pittsburgh last Tuesday. The show has just entered its 16th season off Broadway, making it one of the longest-running international productions to date.
Although the show lacked any actual dialogue, it was anything but silent. In an enthralling combination of dance, percussion, and high energy, the performers of Stomp used modern day garbage as their instruments, dancing to the beat of trash cans and kitchen pans. Through active audience participation and a comical unspoken script, attendees were left to interpret and conclude their own plotlines.
From its humble beginnings as a street performance in the U.K., Stomp has seen unparalleled success. The show has debuted in 36 countries worldwide, selling out hundreds of theaters and receiving several international awards. With shows in New York’s Orpheum Theater and London’s Ambassador Theater, along with two tours actively traveling through both Europe and the United States, Stomp has become a recognizable and respected title in the performance world.
However, Stomp veterans shouldn’t be fooled by the familiar name. The show’s creators, Steve McNicholas and Luke Creswell, have reworked the choreography and composition of the show especially for this year’s U.S. tour. “The tour changes are great — they keep the audience guessing,” said Elec Simon, one of the eight traveling troupe performers. “You may think you know what we’re going to do next, but you have no idea.” With new full-scale routines using tractor tire inner tubes and recycled paint cans, audiences witness the greatest Stomp routine changes since the late 1990s.
Due to popular demand, some components of the show have remained unchanged. Brooms, bungee cords, and wooden poles are established signatory props in the show’s choreography.
“My favorite scene of the show is ‘Poles,’” said Simon. “We come out with these giant sticks and surround this imaginary campfire, like we’re all warriors about to fight each other. It’s our most intense piece, I think. We make this symphony of noise with just our poles, our hands, and our feet.” Besides being experienced dancers, every member of the Stomp cast is also a well-trained musician. Their pieces involve complicated time signatures and unique intervals that make the show both intricate and exciting.
“Every second of the show was entertaining,” said Candace Spellmeyer, an undecided first-year CIT student. “The performers are more like a drill team. The songs are so complicated and every player is in perfect sync.”
As far as productions go, Stomp is highly recommended. The show is a flawlessly renewed representation of rhythm and energy in an unconventional presentation, and audiences will be consistently entertained throughout the 90-minute performance. This junkyard landmark has truly been recycled.