Since its birth in 1991 Stomp has received numerous awards and accolades, and not only toured the world but has maintained its place on the stage for over twenty years. So what is it about this production that’s preserved its shelf life?
I might have been able to answer this question of content vs. time twenty years ago if I had taken up my primary school offer of a Stomp performance. If only I’d returned that consent form in time. I think it was familiarity with the Stomp concept which meant that I, like many 80s babies, was happy enough in the knowledge that there was somebody out there performing cleverly devised routines with brooms or bin lids.
At this performance, I discover it isn’t all about banging bin lids together loudly – shocking isn’t it? But somehow through skilfully choreographed pieces the cast produce a protagonist in the opening routine ‘Brooms’ which also stands alone as a fifteen minute short, nominated for an Academy Award.
And as the production progresses other characters are revealed. An audience favourite was the Frank Spencer type played by Reggie Talley who flies across the stage clutching a shopping trolley and seems to pick the shortest or silliest piece of percussion as the other cast members effortlessly knock out the cleverest beats and rhythms.
So where do they come from? The cast that is – don’t worry I’m not about to dive into existentialism.
They can dance; gymnastics doesn’t seem a problem at all to them and to boot they’re all great percussionists.
Take Reggie Talley for example, a self-taught dancer, self-taught percussionist and acrobat. Or take Emma King who studied percussion at Guildhall School of Music and Drama performing passionately throughout.
The talent on stage, or talents, leaves audience members looking to one other, all asking the same question – ‘How do they do it?’ and attributing to these performers the stage version of a superhero.
Created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, Stomp has come to be more than just a stage production but a brand, a household name even. From televised specials, Coca-Cola advertisements to DVDs, the cast and crew of Stomp are unstoppable and seem likely to conquer future generations with their unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy.