"Amazing! Rhythmic! Powerful! Awesome! Exciting!"
- My family's enthusiastic response to the opening night performance of STOMP at The Straz Center in Tampa.
My son started playing drums at school this year and has been banging away daily on just about every surface he passes. This new musical passion, plus his recent enjoyment of Tan Dun's Water Concerto (performed by The Florida Orchestra - also at the Straz), had me on the look-out for percussion based events. When the opportunity to tap our toes to STOMP came along, we jumped at it!
Here is a quick and dirty pic I snapped with my phone before the show. Photography is prohibited during the performance. The other images here are provided by the Center. Once things got started the jumble of objects (barrels, buckets, lids, and other bits of "junk") shown above turned into amazing instruments under the hands and feet of some insanely talented performers. STOMP opened with stage sweepers who's cleaning evolves into a vibrant musical number. Brooms were swirling about like dance partners and pounded so forcefully that a few broke, and were deftly replaced, mid-stride.
Throughout the performance, the set is a musical jungle gym with musician/dancers climbing, jumping and even swinging from harnesses while pounding away on the all of the pieces, as well as an assortment of "found" objects. These guys made music with everything from tin cans and newspaper to inner tubes and giant barrels. Everything but the kitchen sink... oh wait... they played that too!
The lighting was another strong component of the production. Spotlights focused on eye catching moments; shadows exaggerated dancers' movements. At times the theater was plunged into in total darkness. This served to pique the audiences curiosity, while exaggerating intriguing sounds. One unusual set of instruments turned out to be accordion-like plastic pipes. At another point, the darkness was lit only by a cigarette lighter sonata.
It is recommended that children under age 4-5 stay at home. This is understandable, especially during he darker or noisier segments. However, this really is a family friendly performance. Talking with my guys after, we were all pleasantly surprised by the unexpected humor, both visual and audio. They also really enjoyed the audience participation and had fun trying to keep up with the speedy, sometimes silly, rhythms.
This show was the first time I have been in the middle of such an animated crowd of toe-tapping, laughing, clapping & stomping people. I highly recommend treating yourself (and your family) to STOMP this weekend! Performances run through May 3rd. You can purchase tickets at this link, while supplies last.
Disclaimer: The Tampa Bay Bloggers were invited to attend STOMP! at The Straz Center for the performing arts. I received 3 tickets to this event in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.