Perfection In Percussion
Newcastle Theatre Royal
Until Saturday 18th August 2018
Created & Directed by Luke Cresswell & Steve McNicholas
Silent comedy and drums. Certainly no one speaks. Instead the action does the talking. After 26 years Stomp is still able to fill theatres, and no wonder as the show breaks down barriers in a way usually reserved for pantomime. After the 1 hour 45 minute performance the Theatre Royal audience rose to their feet to recognise the talent that had entertained them.
This show works for all ages. You have the non-verbal comedy of Buster Keaton or Mr Bean coupled with the rhythmic gymnastics of an 80s drum solo from the likes of Cozy Powell or Randy Castillo. The eight performers layer the rhythms using a variety of objects from bins to shopping trolleys filled with boxes and carboys.
Things begin simply enough. A lone performer starts sweeping the stage. He introduces a rhythm to the sweeping action and then bands the head of the brush. Before you know it, the stage is filled with synchronised brushing.
There is some characterisation including a cap wearing performer who is the butt of a number of jokes. Another performer tends to lead the audience with their contribution, and the sound of a theatre clapping and stamping in concert is a joy too. However, for much of the show it is a big ensemble piece, just like a dance show, with 8 of the 10 performers listed in the programme appearing on any single show.
The performers tend to come from a musical/drumming background and yet their choreography and fluidity of movement suggests something more dance orientated.
This is a unique show in which the full show is much greater than the sum of the individual parts. It is funny, energetic and yes, it makes you want to tap everything as you leave. It is worth checking out if you’ve not seen it before.
Review by Stephen Oliver
Stomp comes to Newcastle Theatre Royal Thursday 16th – Saturday 18th August 2018 playing evenings at 7.30pm, matinees on Fri 2pm and Sat 2.30pm. Tickets from £14.00 can be purchased online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge.)