The 15-year Stomp

March 12, 2009

I’m late in coming to this party, but I just saw Stomp at the Orpheum Theatre and loved it. It is not only a seamless merging of dance, percussion, and physical comedy; it is also a celebration of play. The instinct to play, the teamwork of play, the exuberance of play, the ingenuity of play. From the dust mops to the cigarette lighters, from the plungers to the giant inner tubes, the cast of eight drummer/dancers plunged ahead on their journey of discovery. If you can forget the single function of a lighter, a trash can, or a plastic bag, you can try out different noises in all kinds of ways.



One of the delights is that, though the performers make noise and vocalize, they never use words. This show, which originated in England with Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas in 1991, has traveled all over the world. Like dance and mime, it needs no words. Every interaction is crystal clear, and each of the eight performers has a character.



I got lucky. Michelle Dorrance, one of my favorite tap dancers, happened to be standing in for an injured cast member. She left the road show in Pennsylvania just to come into this show. (See our cover story on her from last May.)  She’s fun to watch because she moves as though she has springs on her feet. My 11-year old niece Opal, liked her too.



That’s another thing about dance and physical humor: All ages get it. There were times during the evening (one time had to do with plunger action, another had to do with the kitchen sinks strapped around their necks) when both of us let out a hearty laugh. No question, every person there had a good time. And that’s why the Orpheum is celebrating its 15th year of Stomp and will probably be having this party for another 15 at least.