Directors: Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas
Reviewer: Nicole Evans
Many in the this evening’s audience would have been first impressed by the notion that bin lids and heavy boots could double as musical instruments way back in the early 90s when Stomp was little more than a fringe show gimmick which began strutting its stuff on various chat shows. Now a well-known, 13 year long, West End smash hit, tonight sees the Stomp stage show march in to Warwick Arts Centre with the hopes of spreading their sass a little further afield than their London digs.
Using everything from lighters to inner tubes, Stomp waste no time in mesmerising us with their Brazilian street-party style rhythms which, with the help of the acoustics of the Butterworth Hall, literally beat through your chest as the dustbin-drums get louder. With much of the high-energy prowess we have come to see on display in abundance – particularly from Nigel Carter and Omari Clarke, who not only impress with their tuneful acrobatics but manage to engage with the audience throughout – you can’t help but want to tap along to the subtly changing beats while becoming immersed in the finely choreographed movements. From flawlessly executed basketball bouncing and precariously propelled paint cans to a daringly-deft scene involving abseil-esque suspension from the rigging; the accomplished expertise and levels of solid collaboration among the eight-strong cast simply cannot be knocked.
As with any show that relies heavily on a repetitive theme, the risk of peaking too soon is always run and, despite unfaltering stamina, some of the consistent high-impact you would expect from such a production is lost during scenes leaning too heavily on the running gags. Although the humour certainly adds to the enjoyment, an impression of witnessing the performers’ rest breaks is left at times and you can’t help feeling these sections could have been better utilised with alternating cast members giving it everything they’ve got. On the subject of said running gags, however, Fred Nye does go some of the way to curbing the potential of disappointment as the picked-on, runt-of-the-litter, type who always manages to raise the last laugh.
Aside from the nit-picky criticisms, Stomp still packs a mean punch (and kick and slap). Not quite unfaltering, but quite probably the most terrific tribal tap-dance troupe you’ll ever witness. Catch it while you still can.
Runs until 4 February 2017 | Image: Contributed