From a single drum, hanging around Luke Cresswell’s neck back in 1991, STOMP has taken on a life of its own. In much the same way that rubber hosing, Zippo lighters, plastic bags, bin lids and, yes, even the kitchen sink do, in this multi-award winning theatrical phenomenon which comes to The Mayflower Theatre Southampton for the first time from 25-29 September 2012.
Since those early days, creators and co-directors Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas have developed a unique, universal language of rhythm, theatre, comedy and dance, which has become a theatrical sensation. To date audiences totalling 14 million across 50 countries have been entertained and exhilarated by the astounding show.
In 2009 STOMP unveiled a revamped show, inspired by their large-scale Las Vegas version, STOMP OUT LOUD. New music and choreography join a fresh array of ordinarily mundane objects, onto which the cast work their musical magic. Huge, ribbed tubes, previously used for recycling fluorescent lights, are themselves recycled into outsized Guiros, a Latin American percussion instrument, played by scraping the ridged sides with a stick.
In one of two spectacular new routines, paint cans are tossed between the performers, as they simultaneously build an astonishingly complex rhythm over every surface of the airborne cans. With the emphasis very much on ‘spectacular’, the Stompers are also joined by inflated monster truck inner tubes, here strapped around their waists to create both a dance of bobbing, whirling rubber skirts and pounding, portable drum kits: the ultimate redefinition of ‘surround sound’.
Still remaining is STOMP’s signature high-octane meeting of slick choreography, tight ensemble work, industrial percussion and a narrative of anarchic clowning; as the irrepressible troupe of eight turn brooms into soft shoe partners, clapping into intricate conversations and water cooler bottles into sophisticated instruments. A row of folding chairs are straddled, slid, slammed and slapped into rhythmic submission. It is at once primal and urbane, leaving no percussive potential – of object, body or action – unexploited. And all underpinned by a childish delight in making serious noise.
The whole hurtles towards a brilliantly reworked climax – a showstopper in every sense – as a crackling carnival of leaping, spinning, skidding and pounding performers vent their inexhaustible energies on an unsuspecting orchestra of metal dustbins, bin lids, tubs and water butts. Joyous, thumping, exhilarating bliss for all involved … except the bins!
Tickets for Stomp (25 – 29 September 2012) are on sale from The Mayflower Box Office tel: 02380 711811, online at mayflower.org.uk or in person from the Mayflower ticket south shop in The Marlands, Southampton. Ovation Restaurant bookings: 02380 711833