Friday 15 December 2017

Review: Stomp at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin

Eamonn Sweeney

A physical theatre performance by a percussion group might not sound like a riveting prospect on paper, but the dazzling return of Stomp to a Dublin stage has to be seen to be believed.

Following its conception in Brighton in 1991, Stomp has resided on Broadway and the West End for an eternity in showbiz terms. The Olivier award winning production has graced the Oscars, Sesame Street and the Olympics. It is deemed to be one of the top 100 things to do in London by online travel bible Tripadvisor.

The show incongruously opens with a man sweeping the stage as the lights dim. He starts banging the floor to a slow and steady rhythm. One by one, an eight piece cast take to the stage and transform the humble sweeping brush to an instrument of remarkable musicality.

Stomp is a bizarre mixture of slapstick, performance art and a delightfully demented musical without words. There aren't many precedents for this in popular culture. At times, it is so off the wall, it echoes the performance high jinks of German industrial art-rock pioneers Einstürzende Neubauten (Collapsing New Buildings) who attempted to drill down into a secret tunnel below Buckingham Palace during a performance at London's ICA.

At its raucous, mesmerising best, Stomp isn’t too far removed from such chaos, minus the pneumatic drills. Everyday objects are transformed into surprisingly effective instruments. Tubes, pipes, cups, forks, bins, and even the kitchen sink, get a look in. The audience is a delightful mixture of ages, as this Dublin run conveniently coincides with this week’s mid-term break.

Stomp is great skit; a lightning fast two-hour show that doesn't pause for breath or slacken in pace. It is a unique production that doesn't attempt to be all things to all people, but it doing so, Stomp serves up an eye-popping feast for the senses that will thrill anyone who watches it.

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