STOMP is a must see. Catch them this weekend at the Kentucky Center for the Arts while you can! Vince Liebhart did a great job with the casting, and the direction by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas was impeccable. The performers make a lot of noise while dazzling you with impressive choreography, but they're also quite endearing with their ...comedy?
I didn't expect the show to be so funny. What seemed like a sold-out crowd laughed throughout the entire performance at the expense of one member who was singled out as the comedic relief (Michael Landis). During one performance, the spotlights were aimed at the different performers one at a time while they do a heavy and energetic tap solo. When it was aimed at Landis, he went all out and the crowd went wild in support of the underdog getting his moment..until his pants fell down, resulting in an eruption of wild laughter. The eruptions of laughter from the audience didn't require such extreme measures, though. They were often elicited by something as subtle as the raise of an eyebrow and disappointed look from another member trying to get the audience to collaborate. It seems that every member got a chance to steal the comedic spotlight at some point during the show.
The STOMP troupe really knows how to drag you along up and down through the beats they create from slower paces to faster beats until you think there is no possible way they'll be able to maintain their momentum. Just when I thought it was over and they left the stage to a standing ovation, they returned for a collaborative piece with the audience before leaving to another standing ovation.
One of the impressive qualities of the show is that there was never a word spoken from the cast. They were able to get the entire auditorium to collaborate, correct their beat and erupt in laughter through body language alone. Even more impressive were the athletic feats performed. I can't imagine the amount of training that goes into being able to sustain such high energy performance for an hour and a half straight.
I felt that one of their segments is really worth mentioning. The characters line up with metal cased lighters and are able to open, igninte them, and close them so quickly that it looks like a Christmas light display.
My favorite moment was when one of the bigger guys(Elec Simon) had a "hay day" playing with newspaper, creating a mask, a hula skirt and acting pregnant, before running across the stage as a bird. He later returns with a cape made from the newspaper. It filled me with joy to see such a big fellow come off like such a joyous child. His smile throughout the entire show was infectious.
The overall feel of the show is a very playful and curious one. When the creators of STOMP call it an "exploration", they mean it. The cast members come off like children or curious creatures who discover new things about themselves through sound. They involve the audience in this atmosphere. It was surprising how quick and willing the audience was to play along. The show leaves you feeling energized, good, and as if you've connected with the cast and audience around you.