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Notes from the Stage: We Could All Use Some Stomp

Oct 12, 2018 | 13:12 Fri
I first saw a production of Stomp in London when I was thirteen because Mary Poppins was sold out. Afterwards my dad was all, “Why’d we pay money to watch people bang on trashcans?” I felt vaguely disappointed. But when I saw it was touring in Shanghai I decided to give the percussion group another shot as a full-blown adult.

Maybe with age your threshold for entertainment lessens (baseball games have recently become thrilling) or maybe when it feels like the world's burning there's something to simple entertainment — but this time around I thought Stomp was pretty great.

It’s ninety-minutes of tap dancing and drumming, an ensemble of eight making music with brooms, match boxes, and trashcan lids. Quite literally a production of stomping, it can get loud and hectic, but this is balanced with a sense of awe. Like: how are they making music with a plastic bag and a lighter? Which makes sense since it’s been touring for twenty-four years and viewed by over twelve million people. They can’t all have been trying to see Mary Poppins.

It’s also funny. Well, funny enough. The cast is silent throughout except for some nonsensical shouting but there's a lot of Lucille Ball physical humor at work. Though silent each member of the Stomp squad manages to morph into a distinct character through miming and exaggerated expressions. They also improv a bit, breaking character at times with unstifled giggles which added charm.

The show’s running at ET Space, a relatively small theater for such a big production. It’s intimate with a demand for audience participation throughout while the cast feigns disappointment at our inability to keep up. They even silent-called out two people for looking at their phones. The crowd loved it.


Stomp is in Shanghai for one week only and tickets are going quick.


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