CARS HOMES JOBS

Review: ‘Stomp’: Showcase of rhythm

Sunday, February 19, 2012
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— The show is called “Stomp.” And the eight performers who make it all happen are masters of percussion — physical and musical.

The riotous rundown of snaps, cracks and pops rocked the Palace Theatre this weekend. Those who witnessed its raucousness went away pumped up by the rhythms that coursed through the collective veins.

This show, which has stopped by the Palace on several occasions, is always a good one. Over the years, however, the creators have added to the industrial-strength showcase — making this 100-minute marathon of music and tap dance even stronger.

The stage is set up like an old garage — metal signs, pots and wheel rims hang along chain-link fencing and corrugated walls. Industrial drums — metal and plastic — circle the floor. Needless to say, there is a distinctly macho look.

Perhaps the hardware is meant to mask the fact that this is as much a dance show as it is a musical one. The costumes also erase any arty feel. The crew is dressed in tattered jeans splattered with paint, T-shirts and flannels with cut-off sleeves finished with work boots (secretly equipped with taps.)

The show begins with Ivan Delaforce sweeping the stage. Others follow in what becomes a barrage of swishes, stamps and stomps made by the brooms and the feet. And so it goes all night, with props including basketballs, cans, plastic bags, lighters, wooden poles and even kitchen sinks. All dancers make music, as do their feet, which relentlessly hammer the boards in every number.

The sounds swing from soft — almost mysterious, as with rubber hoses hit against the floor — to booming, as in the finale with garbage cans and lids smashed together. In that way, the creators, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, have perfected atmosphere. And judging by watching several “Stomp” productions, they encourage the troupe to let their personalities shine.

Of course, there is the leader of the pack, Delaforce, and the stooge, endearingly played by Eric Fay. While sprinkled with sight gags, the true personalities shine in the moments of improv. Performers like Andre Meggerson, the guy with the wild hair, takes full advantage of those times. For example, in the scene with the newspapers, he hams it up with his crumpled “USA Today,” earning plenty of laughs.

Meggerson is a large man and isn’t as agile as his counterparts, who attack their roles with a manic energy. When four performers are harnessed and swing from the top of the scenery, discharging a storm of rhythms, the performers are fearless pendulums. They hit their notes as they swing and kick their legs up high in the air.

There are some new numbers, too — one with tractor tire tubes that they wear strapped to their waists, which they drum on while tapping. The octet also does a group juggle of cans that is amazing for its precision and skill.

And that’s the charm of “Stomp.” This seemingly ragtag team is monstrously talented and entertaining.

 
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