Crowds gathered from the streets of Midtown into the rows of the Fox Theatre on Wednesday, March 2 to witness the opening night of Stomp, a percussive performance that utilizes everyday objects and their environment as tools for musical creation.
The Stomp performance captivated the audience with a mix of percussive virtuosity, subtle comedy and performance spectacles. Instruments ranged from the brushes and handles of brooms and dust pans to inner tubes and lighters. The performance was arranged in a series of skits with each pertaining to a particular set of improvised instruments with an overall storyline being created through consistent character traits and smooth scene transitions.
Though percussion resided as the main focus for the show, there was much to be admired about the visual presentation of the rhythm. In sections where push brooms were used against the floor, sand was spread about to not only create another dimension of sound but to add the visual element of dust each time a hand clapped or foot stomped beneath the spotlights.
During the segment of the performance involving paint cans as hand drums, the performers began to juggle the cans amongst themselves, demonstrating not only their timing in the percussive element, but on the performance level as well.
The highlight of the evening in terms of both the visual and aural elements came midway through the performance when a wall of different types of trash that had before been standing unlit in the back of the set was brought to light, displaying four performers dangling before the wall with mallets in hand. The performers swung form ropes tied to the top of the wall as they played on the wall as if it were a playground of drums.
The play puts no boundaries on their instruments. With a single two clap call and response, the cast begins to bring the audience into the music creating process. Through skits, the call would be made, and immediately the crowd would respond. Often the crowd would mistake a simple excerpt of a piece for this call and respond at moments that even surprised the performers.
The flaws of the show were handled in stride and without flinch. During the first skit, titled “Brooms,” there were nearly eight broomsticks broken. However, they were tossed off stage as a new broom was immediately thrown back to them from behind the curtains.
The evening ended with a final segment that incorporated each instrument introduced that night. A steady buildup transformed into what seemed like a controlled chaos before ending abruptly, leaving a sole member on the stage. The performer had the audience snap in tempo with him as he slowly made his way out the back of the stage, giving a sense of resolve to the audience.
Stomp stimulated the aural and visual perceptions of the audience, leaving them not only wanting more, but with a bit of rhythm in their step as they left the Fox.