09/05/2018 - 13/05/2018
Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch
16/05/2018 - 20/05/2018
Civic Theatre, cnr of Queen Street & Wellesley Street West, Auckland
23/05/2018 - 27/05/2018
THE BROADWAY, WEST END AND INTERNATIONAL SENSATION RETURNS TO NEW ZEALAND, AND IT’S BETTER THAN EVER!
The Broadway, West End and international sensation STOMP is back, and it’s better than ever! Following a sell-out visit in 2013, STOMP returns to New Zealand with its unstoppable energy and ‘pure stage magic’. The show will tour to Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland In May next year.
Wordless, witty and fun, STOMP has become a global phenomenon over the last 26 years. Its universal language of rhythm, theatre, comedy and dance has resonated with audiences throughout the world, setting feet stamping, fingers drumming and adrenaline rushing for over 12 million people in 55 countries across six continents. There are up to five STOMP companies performing worldwide at any time; one on tour in North America, another throughout Europe, one touring the rest of the world, one in New York (now in its 23rd year) and one in London (now celebrating its 15th year).
Eight performers use an array of ordinarily mundane objects, from which they create musical magic; an exhilarating soundtrack inspired by the commotion of everyday life. Everything from Zippo lighters, bin lids, and even the kitchen sink are used to hammer out an explosively feel-good rhythm enjoyed by audiences of all ages.
“Trolleys” plays on the everyday experience of negotiating a busy shopping aisle with a fully-laden supermarket trolley, with the piece building to STOMP’s first ever fully-fledged drum corps march: certainly an eye-catching spectacle. “Frogs” explores the bizarre sonic possibilities of a variety of plumbing fixtures: it has to be heard to be believed!
In another spectacular routine, paint cans are tossed between the performers, as they simultaneously build an astonishingly complex rhythm over every surface of the airborne cans. With the emphasis very much on ‘spectacular’, the Stompers are also joined by inflated monster truck inner tubes strapped around their waists to create both a dance of bobbing, whirling rubber skirts and pounding, portable drum kits – the ultimate redefinition of ‘surround sound’.
Still remaining is STOMP’s signature high-octane mix of slick choreography, tight ensemble work, industrial percussion, and continuous comedy; as the irrepressible troupe turn brooms into soft shoe partners, clapping into intricate conversations and water cooler bottles into sophisticated instruments.
Producer James Cundall, CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions says “STOMP has to be one of my favourite shows. It is a unique and supremely clever idea, to create music from everyday objects and combine it with side-splitting comedy and intricate choreography to produce a polished theatrical performance, the likes of which you’ve never seen before.
“STOMP has little or no melody in the traditional sense, so it doesn’t matter if your taste in music is jazz, classical, dance or pop. The show has no words either, so it really is a show for everyone,” adds Mr Cundall.
Loved by audiences of all ages, this multi award-winning show has enjoyed 15 years in London’s West End, and will close at the Ambassadors Theatre in January. On Broadway STOMP is enjoying its 23rd year, breaking the record for the longest-running show at the Orpheum Theatre.
The fun started back in 1991 at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, with a single drum hanging around Co-Creator/Director Luke Cresswell’s neck. STOMP was an instant hit, becoming the Guardian’s “Critic’s Choice” and winning the Daily Express’s “Best of the Fringe” award, and went on to play to capacity audiences around the world. In 1994 STOMP received an Olivier Award nomination for “Best Entertainment” and won the award for “Best Choreography in a West End Show”. With appearances at the Oscars, the Emmy’s, on prime-time US TV shows such as Letterman and Leno, and even at the London 2012 Olympics, STOMP has become a household name across the world.
“We are really excited about coming back to New Zealand,” says STOMP’s Co-Creator/Director Steve McNicholas. “If you’ve never seen STOMP you should come and see what all the noise is about, and if you have, come again and see what’s new.”
“Big, noisy and irresistible” Sun Herald, Sydney
“Brilliant and very funny” The New York Times
STOMP NEW ZEALAND TOUR
9 – 13 May 2018
Wednesday 9 May (preview) – Saturday 12 May 2018, 7.30pm
plus Saturday 12 May, 2.30pm
and Sunday 13 May, 1.00pm & 5.00pm
Book at StompTour.co.nz
Isaac Theatre Royal
16 – 20 May 2018
Wednesday 16-May – Saturday 19 May, 7.30pm
plus Saturday 19 May, 2.30pm
and Sunday 20 May, 1.00pm & 5.00pm
Book at StompTour.co.nz
23 – 27 May 2018
Wednesday 23 May – Saturday 26 May, 7.30pm
plus Saturday 26 May, 2.30pm
and Sunday 27 May, 1.00pm & 5.00pm
Book at StompTour.co.nz
About Lunchbox Theatrical Productions
Headed by James Cundall, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions is one of Australasia’s leading producers of live entertainment, and over the last 25 years has created a reputation for bringing top quality international productions to audiences across five continents. Productions include musicals, spectaculars, boutique shows, musical concerts, international artists, plays, children’s shows and theatrical ice shows. Lunchbox Theatrical Productions is based in the UK with companies in Hong Kong, Singapore, The Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. www.lunchbox-productions.com
Dance-theatre , Dance ,
Energetic, entertaining, enjoyable
Review by Chloe Klein 24th May 2018
Stomp opened in Auckland’s Civic Theatre to a charmed and adoring audience last night after seasons in Wellington and Christchurch earlier this month. Stomp, known for unexpected instruments, inventive percussive rhythms, and infectiously joyful choreography with a hint of humour, has been both a Broadway and West End hit, and comes to our shores for the first time since 2009.
Solos, duets, quartets and group unison, and their respective volumes, are woven together in a dynamic structure that holds interest, just before I’m craving the high energy tricks, they’re there. Just before a concept tires, the energy is focussed in again on a matchbox, Zippo lighter, or tiny pipe. Instruments range from your standard buckets to brooms, tubes, trolleys, sinks, straws, newspapers and beyond – I am surprised at how little the performers ended up using the actual set piece to make beats. One and a half hours of performers beating things with sticks stays fresh, entertaining, and not overwhelming.
The coordination, endurance and presence of the performers is Stomp’s ultimate draw. They are having real fun on stage and it’s hard not to join them. The trust and teamwork demanded by their on-stage relationships is obvious, and often rewarded with applause. The dancers fly around the set with agility, their unison is satisfyingly attuned to another. They are likeable enough to draw the audience into the story, several people call out to them and they respond in character. When they ask the audience to perform, the audience delivers. Our participation is worked throughout the evening, culminating in a challenging and comical rhythm “stomp-along” that has my husband bouncing like a 10 year old.
Perhaps the highest praise is that the vocal kids in the row behind me spent the show enthralled and in stitches.
Stomp is what it promises – an evening of light-hearted and energetic family fun. It’s an entertaining experience. Stomp runs at the Civic until Sunday.
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Grounded, gritty exuberance and infectious rhythms
Review by Andrew Shepherd 17th May 2018
I am an unashamed Stomp fan but it’s been years since I last had the chance to see them live, and I am keen to see if the 2018 tour lives up to my expectations.
The utilitarian set – ladders, drums, plastic containers, metal signs, and various pipes – contrasts markedly with the whimsical grandeur of the beautifully restored Isaac Theatre Royal. From the first beats (established by a sweeping broom) the enthusiastic audience showed I am not the only fan wondering, “How many brooms must they go through?” I see two replacements thrown in from the wings during the first minutes. The eight-strong company is holding nothing back: they are grounded and gritty and full of unbridled exuberance and a fierce commitment to bang out an infectious rhythm.
There are many reasons Stomp has been around for such a long time (over 25 years). The infectious energy, the joyful celebration of rhythm and noise, the sheer entertainment . . . this is a show that will remind you of all the good times you had as a kid, and get you making some noise.
The central theme of this show is rhythm play. The eight performers use their own bodies and all the objects around to build and manipulate an ever-changing beat. It is not just what they play – brooms, buckets, pipes, tubing, dustbins, rubbish bags, and yes! even the kitchen sink – but how they play it. The exploration and choices made are intriguing and delightful, layered with nuance and subtlety . . . It defies definition, and I will never look at a rubber glove in the same way again.
The show is well paced and flows easily: a feel-good concert where fit athletes are the musicians, and the musicians can dance. Throughout the programme, comedy is cleverly incorporated to help change the pace and share focus across the performers. While there are a couple of artists that particularly shine in this context, the integration into the show as a whole is an important factor in its success. You cannot hold or contribute to these rhythms without being a strong dancer with a superb sense of timing and outstanding percussive skills. Yes, different company members are given the chance to shine in different ways – rhythmically, choreographically, comically – but there is a communal sense of enjoyment that is not only a delight to watch, but which is shared with the audience with ease and enthusiasm. Not only do the cast of Stomp entertain, they play with the audience. Stomp 2018 includes the most engaging audience participation I have ever experienced. They have the large and vocally appreciative Christchurch audience on its feet for the last five minutes.
This is not a show that tells a story, but it does have a message: get out there and make some noise. Celebrate life and dance! Recent academic studies that show the benefits of dance for an aging population – not only for movement and mobility, but for left brain / right brain connections and warding of degenerative mental conditions like dementia, and anthropologists have long identified the basic human need to get together and share rhythm and movement. Stomp 2018 can help us all to reconnect with the joy associated with this: go and see this show!
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Enough energy to power Opera House off grid
Review by Ann Hunt 12th May 2018
This is a stomping great cracker of a show! STOMP has been travelling the globe in one form or another for twenty-six years and all the accolades and superlatives heaped upon it are well deserved, plus some.
Last seen in New Zealand in 2013 it was a sell-out success, and going by the opening night’s standing and cheering ovation, it will be that again.
The eight dancer/musicians are phenomenal. The six men and two women display enough energy to power the Opera House in Wellington off grid! [More]
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A man’s world of communicating
Review by Sam Trubridge 11th May 2018
I last saw STOMP while working as an usher at Sadler’s Wells theatre in London in 2002. Over a month of sold out performances I probably saw it about twelve times through. Now, sixteen years later, the show is in New Zealand for a return tour of Wellington, Christchurch, and Auckland.
Still going after 25 years, STOMP was a runaway success story from its origins in Brighton UK – with ongoing seasons at Broadway’s Orpheum Theatre, Olivier Awards, collaborations with Jim Henson’s The Muppets, and performing at the closing ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics. Created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas in 1991, STOMP was a game-changer – foregrounding percussion on stage in ways that it had never been before, using found objects and materials to make rhythm and drumming the main focus for two hours of electric performance. You can see the influence of early nineties physical theatre on this work, as well as other products of this decade, like Mr Bean, which McNicholas worked on as well. STOMP’s clever synthesis of comedy, stagecraft, choreography and percussion makes it a sure-to-sell success anywhere it goes.
Last night in Wellington’s Opera House was no exception. From the moment the first performer walked on stage we were in the palm of their hands, and later on a simple [clap! clap!] was enough to elicit the same response from the auditorium. It is the same show that I saw in 2002 and – save for the addition and subtraction of a few new ‘instruments’ – the timing, characters, sequences and staging are all faithfully preserved.
What is so great about STOMP is that it animates the sonic worlds waiting to be found in even the humblest of things – from obvious choices (like dustbins and ten-gallon drums) through to the surprising (newspapers, plastic bags, matchboxes, and inner tubes). It leaves you buoyant with the performers’ incredible energy, and attuned to the musical potential in all things: from sounds already happening around us, to the sounds waiting to be brought out of the world of objects and materials. Audiences love it. It is very funny too: often setting up a rhythm, a sound or a pattern, then reducing the audience to hysterics by having one performer step out of line slightly. These gags are easy but they are so effective – demonstrating how simple comedy can be and just how much can be communicated through rhythm alone. But this humour is often achieved at the expense of one of the characters, either through them being unable to fit in, or unable keep the rhythm. And this leads me to consider the subtler inferences in the work.
The performance starts with the cast sweeping the floor and communicating with one-another through grunts. It is a man’s world of communicating through shared labour without words. There is also the conformity to a mechanical rhythm that has roots in the working-class experience. This is reflected in the industrial character of the set, with its steel grating, corrugated iron, and rusting signs. There are two women in the cast but their roles have little character except in one scene where they compete for a man’s attention using various percussive tricks pulled from a rubbish bag. Aside from this, it really is a male environment, with urinal references, gags about inadequacy, competitive macho games, and a character who becomes the butt of many jokes – is he the manager in this vaguely rendered work environment? – or is he the new guy who doesn’t quite fit in? Either way the reliance on making fun of this character seems to equate to low-key workplace bullying – as he is regularly ostracised, has his space invaded, has things thrown at him and is made fun of. Of course, it’s all fun and games (as bullies usually say) but it does seem to normalise such behaviour, and make it acceptable. We laugh for both sides of this relationship, but it does make me feel sad. Because, aside from the incredible percussion and the very entertaining performance, there is underneath this performance the same loneliness of an outsider that haunted the Mr Bean TV shows.
To overlook these subtle signs in the work is to overlook how art media, and the stories we tell can either re-shape or re-inforce our cultural patterns. So here it is in this work: (1) the gritty, industrial working man’s environment; (2) a well-synchronised ensemble of worker-performers dressed in overalls, singlets, and jackboots; (3) the uptight loner with his buttons done up to the collar, the subject of everyone’s jokes; (4) workplace scenarios like – sweeping the floor, a ‘smoko’ break with newspapers; and (5) the industrial crescendos when the whole ensemble smash and crash steel in unison, or march across the stage with ten-gallon drums strapped to their feet. The comic relief makes his stage entrance, ten steps behind, walking on two tiny paint cans. Our laughter drowns out the drumming. We laugh at his inability to keep up, the size of his paint-cans, and his inadequacy.
Co-creator Steve McNicholas started his career working with various theatre companies, including Scottish agitprop theatre company 7:84 (named after a statistic published in the Economist in 1966 that 7% of the UK’s population owned 84% of the country’s wealth). So it is surprising to me to observe how STOMP celebrates the industrial complex, makes fun of outsiders and outsider behaviour, and celebrates adherence to the rhythm and conformity. The characters are dressed rough and make music from rubbish, so they appear edgy and alternative. They celebrate energy, explosive movement, and bring amazing sound from the lowliest of materials, so they uplift us. It is consummate entertainment, delivered with amazing timing, and clever stagecraft. But it seems that working-class aesthetics and workplace dynamics have been used to create distractions and entertainment. It has done well for everyone involved, and STOMP has taken over the world. But it isn’t in any hurry to change the world.
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