Stomp at the Pantages - It Really Stomps

Who would have thought a trio of sacks, paper and plastic, pulsating in time to the hypnotically methodical rhythms of their handlers could generate so much excitement? Obviously Luke Creswell and Steve McNicholas do.  So it goes with Stomp, the raucous romp of hyped-up-adrenaline-pumped dance drummers, exploding this week onto the Pantages stage for an all too short engagement.  Created back in 1991 by Creswell and McNicholas, the sensation of stomping, hopping, banging, kicking, beating, pounding, clapping, and slapping has not lost any of its drawing power, but continues on like the 'found' music it represents more inventive, more joyful, and more exuberant with each new iteration.

Will audiences ever tire of the cacophony of brooms, saws, drums, pots, and pans?  I doubt it, if tonight's performance is any indication.  Scanning the crowd, it seemed like a veritable who's who of young Hollywood had turned out for opening night. 

The performance was deceptively simple, yet amazingly complex.  The premise?  'Found' sound.  The eight dance-drummers (it's hard to know what to call them they are so multi-talented) use everything from garbage in a sack, to water bottles, empty oil drums, stop signs, rail-road signs, to newspapers and lighters. And yes' it still includes the kitchen sink.  But at its most fundamental level, Stomp is all about sound, rhythm and movement, and their universal timeless union. 

It's difficult to describe what Stomp is to someone who has never experienced it.  It's primitive, it's modern.  It's simple, yet impossibly intricate.  The myriad rhythms move in and out, weaving together a percussive fabric that is both exotic and strangely familiar.

For those who have seen the show before, some sequences will feel like old friends.  But like the creative cadences that explode into riotous riffs and thigh-slapping solos, the sequences themselves cleverly blend the old into the new in seamless fashion.

I haven't even mentioned the comic relief yet'   It's not only about the rhythms and movement, but also about the interactions between the performers themselves.  Each performer is distinctive, with a body language all his or her own.  Though there is no actual dialogue, the interplay of facial emotions and gestures between performers speaks volumes.

Stomp is a thoroughly joyful journey.  I sat spellbound, a giddy grin plastered to my face the entire time, my toes tapping, knees bouncing.  And I wasn't the only one. The same expression was glued to every face around me. To quote a nearby tyke, wise beyond her years, 'that was cool daddy!' 

I couldn't agree more. 

Blink and it will be gone.  Don't wait to get the hottest ticket in town, because Stomp is only stomping at the Pantages Theater until May 21st. 


For more information on tickets, visit www.BroadwayLA.org, or call (213)365-3500.

The Pantages Theater is located at 6233 Hollywood Blvd., 1/2 block east of Vine Street.

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