By Gary Murray
Starring John Angeles, Jaclynn Bridges, E. Donisha Brown, Andres Fernandez, Cammie Griffin, Michael R. Landis, Guy Mandozzi, John Sawicki, Mike Silvia, Elec Simon and Carlos Thomas
Created and directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas
Have you ever wondered what junk men due when you are not around? An answer could be seen at The Music Hall at Fair Park. Stomp, the longest running off-Broadway show, makes a Dallas appearance. The show is presented for one week only and runs for approximately 101 minutes. This is the multiple award-winning experience that has added a few surprises from the original inception.
The show opens with a stage covered in different pieces of junk, such as signs, buckets and tubing. Imagine Fred Sanford’s garage from Sanford and Son but with much more clutter. The first actor comes out sweeping a broom and then beating it against the floor. Soon, it becomes a percussive instrument. Then eight members of the cast, all with brooms take the simple melody and turn it into a layered tune.
The audience gets involved with everyone following along with the claps. On stage, he goes ‘clap-clap’, then, the audience responds in kind. It was a theme that ran through the show and by the end everyone in the crowd was syncopating along, making their own music.
The performers never talk to the audience nor introduce themselves or their bits. All communications was done non-verbally, with manic gestures and bold flairs. This communication without speech helps with the universal appeal of the bits.
Some moments were subtle as when a group played matchstick boxes. There were incredibly visual bits done with lighters where the flickers were as animated as mechanical lighting. It was an incredible display of timing.
One of the highlights was a quartet playing kitchen sinks. They use sticks and cans to change the tone, arpeggios of water for sound. The ending is just a tad bawdy but still got the biggest laughs of the piece. The entire ending is the trashcans and trashcan lids turning into a marching band of music and flair.
During the show, the main comic performer would walk across the stage holding up the Mavericks/Heat scores. At the end, he came out in a Dirk jersey which generated major applause.
For those who have seen the show, some of the new routines include flying paint cans and tire truck inner-tubes. Both were impressive acts of both juggling and music.
Before the performance, I was sure that I had seen Stomp. The percussive show has been on the internet and television for a number of years, so I was sure that I had seen the entire show on stage. It was just that familiar. After the opening night at the Dallas Summer Musicals, I was sure that I had not. This performance is a percussive masterwork not to be missed.