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Something worth Stomping about at the Vaudeville



Review by Paul Nelson

QUITE the most extraordinary show I have ever seen is currently at the Vaudeville Theatre.

Stomp is an explosion of movement and rhythms that is at all times entertaining and on occasion amusing or thrilling.

Starting in Brighton all of 11 years ago, the show has been seen at the Roundhouse, the Edinburgh Festival and is enjoying a long and healthy run in New York. It has been seen in many countries all over the world and one wonders what was the reason for the reticence in bringing it to London.

It has been seen in the open air at the Acropolis in Athens and on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It now seems to have settled in for a long run at the Vaudeville.

The show starts with one man sweeping the stage. Eventually, the rhythm of the brush strokes gets to him and he becomes inventive. He is joined by another sweeper, then another, and so on, until the stage seems to be filled with sweepers, by now all conforming to a strictly disciplined choreographic series of patterns.

The group is energetic and in spite of forebodings that it was to be the noisiest show in town I can assure you, don't bother to take earplugs, after all you can't make all that much noise with nine Zippo lighters. What you can do is create a pattern of lights and clicks and the company does this, along with many other really innovative items.

A dialogue between the actors and the audience, each clapping hands to a set rhythm, is particularly popular, and a thrilling dance with dustbin lids, what look to be recycling bins and refuse cans is magnificent.

Men walking along with oil drums for shoes, and others crossing the stage in tea chests are just some of the funny and wild ideas with which this show is crammed.

If I had to carp, I would say that there came a point when I longed for the sound of a human voice, as there is no dialogue; also, there is not one single true musical instrument and the show stands or falls on its rhythms alone. It stands.

It is very exciting, ideal entertainment for the young in heart and it received one of the largest and most spontaneous standing ovations I have ever witnessed in the theatre.

The flyer for the show gives booking arrangements for Christmas. Which Christmas? It seems to me that the show could outlast quite a few Christmas seasons. Stomp is a really exciting knockout.

Stomp, Created and Directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas. Lighting Design by Neil Tiplady and Steve McNicholas, Sound Design Mike Roberts, Assistant to Directors Fraser Morrison, Technical Co-ordinator Neil Tiplady. WITH: Nigel Clarke, Nathaniel Conroy, Sean Edwards, Billy Hickling, Manasseh Jackson, Melanie Joseph, James Lane, Paula Maxwell, Peter Nielsen, Mike Roberts, Matt Scanlon, Abadonia Stuart. Produced by Glynis Henderson and Yes/No Productions at the Vaudeville theatre, The Strand, London WC2.

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