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Get stomping July 2, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Stage & Theater.
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Stomp, which has been on Broadway and the West End for a decade brings a slick and energetic show to our shores.

We have been lucky over the last few years to be able to see some modern musicals, and this year we will get the mega hit Stomp, which has been playing in the West End and on Broadway for over a decade.

Stomp began as an independent show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by two street performers from Brighton. Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas have taken their art of busking and turned into a worldwide phenomenon. Busking can include any number of performing arts, all performed in order to seek attention from the busy city folk. You can still witness these kinds of performances in the New York subway, in the actual trains!, and on the streets of big cities.

Stomp is very different from your typical musical. There are no cheesy songs performed in a wide stance with arms stretched out, there is no T&A factor, no costumes with sequins. This is a rock show, a crowd pleaser that is contemporary, urban, and packed with energy. The show’s creators have managed to take the performing art of the streets and packaged it for the audience at large to see. Having said this, the production value is high and the show is impeccably choreographed, timed, and composed.

Stomp is a mixture of many elements. Dancers create music, musicians create dance. Using everyday objects performers create impeccable rhythms and a visual spectacle. Drumming is the basis for the show but percussion is created in unconventional ways, using broomsticks, trash can lids, matches, and plungers. The percussion will get you in the stomach and if you think it is too loud you are too old. The show has a familiarity about it because it is grounded in everyday life. Although, the show is marketed as “raw”  it is not. The production level is too high. Granted I do not believe that anything that is placed under the microscope of stage life can be “raw” or “real.”

The show is advertised as original but I cannot give them such credit. Unfortunately, Cypriot television no longer shows old musicals but Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly both created musical numbers using everyday projects. Even in Singing in the Rain, an absolute must see if you have only seen the scene in the rain, Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor clean up the house dancing and singing, walking over couches and tapping. In the marvelous New York, New York the tapping masters dance with trash can lids attached to their feet and sweeping the streets of the Big Apple.

For the art snobs, here is my pitch. The contemporary dance scene in Cyprus loves postmodern performance art. Postmodern performance art/dance tends to combine a number of elements such as movement, sounds scores, voice, and random props. It is most often concerned with social and emotional environments and tends to glorify everyday behaviours and occurrences. So how is Stomp different? The show blends music, which is live and created by performers, movement, and exploitation of everyday objects in non-traditional ways.

This particular production appears to all ages. It is clever and catchy and makes you want to start drumming away on your kitchen sink while doing the dishes. All my college friends who preferred beer to theatre, saw Stomp and loved it. For dance and music lovers, this is a rare treat. Boys love it because it is loud and has an edgy, dark feeling about it. Grown ups love it because it is a great show.

The mission of the show’s producers is to bring attention to the noises that surround us at all times and that we normally ignore. They have taken the perpetual urban soundtrack and created a fascinating art show. The show is incredibly energetic and a sure crowd pleaser and what it lacks in content and narrative it makes up in explosive performance style. The show is consistent and well crafted, designed to keep your attention just as it wants to wander.

Stomp > Group of artists working together to create music using abandoned and industrial waste products. July 6 and 7. Patticheon Theatre, Larnaca, Cyprus. 9pm. Tel: 24-657745.

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