REVIEW: Stomp (Broadway in Chicago)

Who needs instruments when you got a trashcan?


Broadway in Chicago presents
Created/directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas
Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe (map)
Thru May 2nd | tickets: $17-$55  |  more info

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

JumpBrooms, garbage lids, paint cans: the makings for an award-winning show are in the garage. Broadway in Chicago presents STOMP, an entertaining spectacle about the percussionist potential of everyday items. In 1991, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas introduced STOMP at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre. Nearly twenty years  later, it has played in over 350 cities in 36 countries, won multiple awards, and spun off into films, commercials and other stage versions. The original smash hit, STOMP, is touring with the old favorites tweaked and two additional full-scale numbers. For the next several days, STOMP will be sweeping Chicago off their feet with their flawless synchronized rhythmic beat.

The show starts and ends with a guy and a broom sweeping up the stage. In between, a dozen performers use everything including the kitchen sink to produce a medley of sounds sans any musical instruments. Literally, kitchen sinks of water and suds are hanging from performers as they tap out a tune with drumsticks. STOMP connects mundane household items to a hip, urban movement. Even without the aid of any props or words, a performer interacts with the audience in a clapping stand-off to produce an impressive theatrical noise. The playful moments between the performers and audience makes the show feel spontaneous and fresh. The performers seem to be Red Drum enjoying the action as much as the audience. The whole theatre is applauding and clomping in mutual admiration and expression. The guy next to me is so enthralled in mimicking claps and stomps, it feels like he is auditioning. (Unfortunately, he shouldn’t expect a callback!)

It’s the audio AND the visual. It’s hearing AND seeing the stomp. In one number, the ensemble lines up with Zippo lighters for the click AND the flame. Fascinating! The physicality of the performers is remarkable in their dancer-musician duality. This is most notable in a routine where they are suspended in the air as they stick it to a wall of hubcaps for a tribal melody. Familiar items like paint cans and recycle bins create an audio-visual sensation that will inspire kids to grab a bucket and practice. The fast paced sequence of innovation makes STOMP perfect for kids and adults. It is the most fun you’ll ever have with a broom!

Rating: ★★★



Running Time: One hour and forty-five minutes with no intermission

3 Words: With plans to bring his nephews, Roger describes the experience as “bone-rattling fun.”

Waiting for the Show

Before stomping over to the show, Roger and I dine at The Gage, 24 S. Michigan. We decide to share small plates and start with sea scallops with pistachios and tangerine. Succulent melt-in-your mouth wondrous! It’s my favorite dish from this meal. Roger votes for the spicy sausage that was recommended by the owner and endorsed by our server. It is tasty – especially with the accompanying figs and toast. We get the House Poutine, mainly for the name. It is basically fries swimming in gravy with cheese curds. A little too wet for my liking but we pick out all the curds to eat. We also try the house greens with duck. It’s a side dish and not as flavorful as The Gage trademark. I’m becoming very familiar with The Gage style. It’s my third visit in five days. It’s the proximity to theatre, fantastic food, stellar service and the charming owner Billy Lawless that has enGaged me…repeatedly!

2 Responses

  1. Wow! Amazing show.
    I didn’t realized, that trash cans could be such good instruments

    • Agreed! It definitely puts a twist on the term ‘garage band’! If you enjoyed STOMP, you should try to see “Hephaestus” in May. It’s “STOMP goes to the circus!”

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