No money for musical instruments but want to perform all the same?
The touring production of “Stomp,” now at the Gallo Center for the Arts, proves that everything you need is lying around the house.
Eight talented young performers put on a nearly two-hour concert pounding out rhythms and melodies on garbage cans, paint cans, water jugs, brooms and inner tubes.
The show is highly creative, hip and surprisingly funny. There’s no story to follow or hidden meaning to uncover. Cast members invite the audience to join in the fun by snapping, clapping and stomping to the beat right along with them.
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Created and directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, the show was born in Brighton, United Kingdom in the early 1990s. The production was then performed around the world ending up off-Broadway in 1994, where it won a Drama Desk award for “Most Unique Theatre Experience.”
The show unfolds on an industrial warehouse-type set with pots, pans, lids and other potential percussion instruments hanging up in the background.
Dressed in ripped jeans or shorts and T-shirts, cast members come out one by one pushing brooms and making intricate rhythms along the way.
A different group of eight performs on different nights — cast members are John Angeles, E. Donisha Brown, Guillaume Carreira, Michelle Dorrance, Cammie Griffin, Brad Holland, Michael R. Landis, Guy Mandozzi, Justin Myles, Mike Silvia, Elec Simon and Nicholas Young.
Though the cast members never say a word, you get to know their personalities and quirks. As examples, one guy is cocky, another is constantly left out of the fun and another is by far the best at pounding out beats on his body.
Steve McNicholas and Neil Tiplady’s rock concert-like lighting design makes everyone look good and allows each performer his or her time in the spotlight.
Some of the more exciting parts of the show are when cast members walk out on stilts made out of garbage cans and practice martial arts moves on each other with garbage can lids.
Other highlights are when the performers make mysterious xylophone-type music out of pipes or when they slide, beat, open and shut folding chairs in synchronized rhythm.
Two new numbers added when creators revamped the production add zing to the show. “Donuts” has the performers wearing tractor tire inner tubes around their waist and “Paint Cans” has them juggling different sized cans all over the stage.
People of all ages enjoyed Friday’s opening night performance. Children were among the happiest in the audience, giggling loudly throughout the show.