'Stomp' is a percussive romp

September 18, 1998|By Judith Green | Judith Green,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

"Stomp" is street percussion: push brooms in counterpoint, a tattoo on a teapot, a well-tuned team of toilet plungers.

"Stomp" is eight performers -- five men, three women -- banging on every kind of imaginable object, and some that aren't. And sometimes "Stomp" is softness itself, tickling the ear with a xylophone of Zippo lighters or the snap-top cap of a Snapple flavored tea played like a castanet.

"Stomp" is grunge clothes, pierced ears, big pants, sweat-soaked T-shirts and tank tops. Stomp is everything but the kitchen sink -- and, in one number, it is the kitchen sink.

"Stomp" is the brain-child of Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, two itinerant British musicians who turned a clever idea into a fortune. The first "Stomp" company was formed in London in 1991, and it was such a hit that three more -- one for off-Broadway and two touring troupes -- were cloned. By 1994, "Stomp" had won an Olivier Award (Britain's version of the Tony) as well as Obie and Drama Desk Awards in New York.

"Stomp" is percussion made visible with "found" objects: trash cans, buckets, wooden poles, reinforced plastic barrels, rubber pipes (which make a sweet hollow "bloop" that's very catchy).

"Stomp" is a canny performer named Danielle Reddick, who looks like Whoopi Goldberg and can get a laugh with a raised eyebrow. She is the Little Tramp of the production, always put-upon, always late, always shunted off to the side, never the star.

"Stomp" is The Sun in an active state of deconstruction. When Reddick tries to work a crossword puzzle, the others box her in with their newspapers, composing an on-the-spot fantasia of rustles, coughs, rattles and shuffles, eventually shredding their reading matter.

"Stomp" is a blue-collar rhapsody for the tools of the trade: a saw and a tape measure and putty knives. "Stomp" is gladiators with trash-can lids, giants in enormous stilts made of oil drums.

"Stomp" is 90 minutes long, plus an encore that gets longer every time I see it. It's at the Lyric Opera House through Sunday. If you haven't seen it, treat yourself. This was my third time, and it's still a hoot.

'Stomp'

Where: Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave.

When: 8 p.m. today; 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. tomorrow; 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $25-$39.50

Call: 410-481-SEAT

Pub Date: 9/18/98

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