There’s No Place You Can Hide

I can find something nice to say about anything.  Don’t test me.  You. will. lose.

Here’s the conundrum:  I just saw STOMP at the Ambassador Theatre in London’s West End.  You need to understand that I did not, at any moment, find myself searching for something nice to say.  Rather, I worried that mere words could not possibly express…  Words fought each other in my head for the chance to describe…  

Infectious. Hilarious. Personal, heartwarming, instinctually conversational, unbelievable.

Praise for STOMP is not a kindness.  It’s natural – and unavoidable – like the beat.  The audience dancing in their seats and the long-running success of the show are evidence enough that you should get tickets.  Before even getting comfortable in my seat I was impressed by the fantastic set, a serious piece of art in its own right.  If I had come across it in a gallery I might think it a monument to our “society of stuff”.  In use though, the meaning changes to something much more celebratory and simple.

STOMP is a show that is proudly representative of a relatively new genre in theatre, comprising the live performance of a musical composition, characterization, dance or movement, and clever use of the audience as the final performer on the bill.  It is surprisingly funny; the average audience member will laugh more at this show than they will have all of last week.  And the talent of these performers is phenomenal.  They must at once be musicians, actors, dancers, and conversationalists – without the muss and fuss of words.  Mm, Mm, Mmmm.

And before it goes seemingly unnoticed, the lighting designer deserves a round of applause.  Performance glue meets icing on the cake.

I took away the following message – we take music for granted.  Our heartbeats, the tide, the mathematical language of the cosmos…  We are living within song.  Listen for it.  Feel it.  Celebrate it.  Share it.

I think Gloria Estefan may have said it best (finally, knowing this song is useful), “the rhythm is gonna getcha”.