Review: STOMP proves as entertaining a show as I remember

Sam Lineberger

For schoolchildren of the ’90s, STOMP videos were as ubiquitous as overhead projectors and the Kid Pix computer program.

Coming to class and seeing a substitute teacher not only meant abandoning one’s assigned seat, but potentially getting to sit back and watch STOMP or Bill Nye VHS tapes.

STOMP, which was founded in Brighton, U.K., in 1991 by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, has found international success through multiple casts. The show is famous for creatively using body parts and everyday objects in a percussive display that is both technically impressive and whimsically humorous.

Although I’ve watched the acclaimed physical theatre group perform scores of times, I’ve never had the opportunity to enjoy the true, live experience, which I was able to catch when the show came to the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday.

The show opened on a solitary, tank-top-and-muscle-baring street sweeper. Gradually, the audience began to realize that he was building up a rhythm composed of swipes and taps.

Soon, the rest of the eight-person troupe joined him on stage and laid down a measured and complex musical skit using nothing but their boots and brooms.

Next up was a casual yet somehow technically impressive piece built entirely upon the shuffling of cigarette packs. Members of the cast effortlessly manipulated the audience by taking turns and attempting to outdo each other.

Further segments made use of basketballs, long tubes, mops and even sinks filled with water.

One of the more surprising numbers involved rhythmically clicking and igniting Zippos in the pitch-black room.

Perhaps the funniest skit involved all eight performers trying to produce the most annoying ruffling and throat-clearing sounds while crowded around reading newspapers.

To close out the night, the tank-topped performer led the audience in a call-and-response clapping routine.

Overall, STOMP proved as engaging and precise as I had expected from childhood memories.

Sam Lineberger, A&E Reporter