REVIEW: Stomp – Mayflower


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Stomp Mayflower

REVIEW: Stomp – Mayflower

“What a Show!” says David Cradduck…

Stomp is now in its 24th year,  and it noisily bashed, thumped, crashed and stomped its way to The Mayflower in Southampton as part of its 10-venue UK tour. And what a show this is! Stomp started life in Brighton in 1991 when two young guys – Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas – put together a rhythm based comedy/musical based on a ten year collaboration of creating street comedy musicals for the likes of Edinburgh Fringe.

It has, over the intervening years, spawned a huge number of tours, 2D and 3D films, themes, events and variations; in fact some 40 performers came together for a specially choreographed version in the closing ceremony of the London 2102 Olympics. The number of awards and nominations for Stomp are too many to list.

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There is no plot as such, but a fascinating series of contrasting rhythm based numbers played on everything that comes to hand – including dustbin lids, saucepans, oil drums, paper and plastic bags, basketballs, shopping trollies, brooms, sticks, even lighters, Swan Vesta match boxes and the massive inner tubes from what must be earth mover wheels. Oh, did I mention the real kitchen sinks, strapped to the performers, full of water and noisy washing up?

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REVIEW: Stomp – Mayflower – Energetic, Dynamic

Eight young, fit, energetic, dynamic, talented people who really know how to tap out a complex criss-cross rhythm with little more than their hands, combine hilarious mime, clown-esque characters, dance, juggling and acrobatics to fill an hour and three quarters with non-stop foot-tapping stuff that I defy anyone not to smile or even laugh out loud.

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Several words spring to mind – dynamic, precision, funny, mesmerizing – and they just make it look so easy. There’s even some audience participation as one performer does his best to ‘teach’ us to clap and tap increasingly complicated riffs, with some hilarious results. Timing is everything in this show whether it is the choreographed movements of an eight-person juggling act (whilst still creating that amazing syncopation), the synchronised flicking of lighters to amazing audible and visual effect, or percussionists swinging from ropes and playing the kind of drum duet that Phil Collins and Chester Thompson might be jealous of, on nothing more than a series of pots, pans and metal tubes.

Having no interval means a long sitting (I strongly suggest avoiding long drinks beforehand), but I can see why they do it; the pace is frenetic from the start and to stop halfway would lose the amazing impetus this show creates. And the audience, ranging from children to pensioners, all seem comfortable with it. The time just flies by, such is the audience’s involvement with the show.

If you want something different to take your grandchild or grandparent to, this show is it. But be careful tapping your steering wheel and clutch pedal on the way home, it could be dangerous.

Stomp continues at the Mayflower on Friday 23 October at 5pm and 8.30pm and on Saturday 24 October at 4pm and 8pm. The international tour then continues throughout France, Belgium and Germany until the end of the year.