The long running, award winning percussive hit, Stomp, has returned with a bang to the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC for a limited engagement through Sunday, January 30. The show is a spectacle of percussion, movement and visual comedy, with no spoken dialogue, that takes the audience on an eye-opening journey of how music, rhythm and dance can develop by using everyday “musical instruments” like paper bags, metal paint cans and plastic tubs. You will be dancing in your seat to the energizing pulse of Stomp.
Originally created in 1991 by UK natives Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, Stomp has performed in over 350 cities in thirty-six countries worldwide, including a very successful 15 year and counting New York City production at the Orpheum Theater, making it one of the longest running and most successful shows in Off-Broadway history. The current North American touring company stars a talented and energetic cast: John Angeles, Jaclynn Bridges, Donisha Brown, Andre Fernandez, Cammie Griffin, Michael Landis, Guy Mandozzi, Justin Myles, John Sawicki, Mike Silvia, Elec Simon and Nicholas Young.
The show opens with one cast member slowly and deliberately pushing a single broom across the dusty stage, which is colorfully decorated with metal ladders, long plastic pipes, large 10-gallon jugs, various metal street signs, crutches and pots and pans. The other cast members join on stage with brooms of their own as the opening number explodes with meticulous rhythm. The cast twists and spins around each other getting ever louder as the brooms slap and grind against the stage floor. Even when a broom handle or two breaks with the force of the pounding, the cast members do not miss a beat; they just gracefully grab another broom and melt back into the organized chaos of the choreography. The opening scene is a true crowd pleaser!
My favorite routines were generally the loudest. I especially liked when the drummers beat on the sides of metal kitchen sinks strapped around their necks filled with water. Another amazing moment was a newly added scene where four drummers emerge wearing large tractor-trailer inner tubes that they beat on with drumsticks while moving around each other on the stage. And one of the most memorable moments comes when the drummers hang like mountain climbers high above the stage and rhythmically bang on the various metal and plastic objects on the set while swinging from side to side. Even if you are not a fan of the loud racket, the athleticism and physical fitness of the cast will be sure to consistently amaze.
Stomp also has a fair number of impressive, quieter routines. Have you ever made music by shaking a matchbox or by rubbing your hands together? The drummers do both while the audience listens in awe. An especially wonderful routine uses only cigarette lighters and darkness.
What kind of sound can 30 brooms, 288 liters of water, 10 six-foot wooden polls, 4 metal kitchen sinks, 40 newspapers and 12 boxes of matches make? Here’s a sample. But you have to see it for yourself.
Created and Directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas
Presented at the Warner Theatre
Reviewed by Sabrina Daly
Running time: 1 hour and 40 minutes, with no intermission.