It has been over twenty years since STOMP opened in the UK. And while time tends to reveal imperfections, when STOMP performed at the Des Moines Civic Center this past weekend, it was proven that even in an era of big budget musical extravaganzas you simply need excellent performers and a fun idea to succeed and stand the test of time.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, STOMP showcases the rhythm and music that can be made with everyday objects. From brooms and sinks to hands and feet, the performers prove that music truly is all around us.
Though STOMP is most known for loud, explosive numbers featuring garbage can lids, that impression does not do the show justice. STOMP presents a wide range of numbers using many different objects. One of the biggest highlights of the night was the piece in which the lights had been cut completely and the entire cast each held two pocket lighters and lit them in intricate rhythms and patterns. Of course, as a counterpoint to the peaceful numbers there are numbers in which the performers beat on gigantic oil drums with such force that you shake in your seat.
Given the strange combination of percussion and dance, the entire cast was incredibly adept in their roles. Even when a mistake happened, such as missing a catch of the bucket or basketball, it was easily forgotten because even that did not cause them to miss a beat. Some of the performers interact wordlessly with the audience and each of them were on point and the audience knew exactly how to respond. Andre Fernandez, as the comic relief, practically stole the show with just his facial expressions and big, bouncy hair.
STOMP may be the perfect show for people of all ages, stages, and walks of life. English not your first language? Not a problem, there’s no dialogue or lyrics. Hearing impaired? No worries, the music is so loud you will feel the vibrations to your core and the cast performs so many acrobatics that you will be lost in the movement alone. Visually impaired? Not to worry, you will be hearing every toe tap and metallic clank. Are you a parent needing a little help getting the kids to do their chores? Sweeping, mopping, and doing the dishes never looked like so much fun. If you love to have a good time, you will love STOMP.