STOMP GETS SET TO MAKE SOME NOISE

There are no lines, no vo­cals, no singing or speak­ing, sim­ply sound, yet the per­form­ers in Stomp man­age to pro­duce some ex­tra­or­di­nary beats from or­di­nary items and au­di­ences lap up the stun­ning re­sults

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SALLY COATES

World­wide the­atre spec­ta­cle Stomp is on its way to the Gold Coast with what must be some of the most ran­dom bag­gage air­port staff have ever seen.

The rhyth­mic ex­trav­a­ganza uses or­di­nary items to pro­duce ex­tra­or­di­nary sounds, from brooms, matches, trol­leys, bas­ket­balls and even the kitchen sink – dishes in­cluded – and only those items.

There are no lines, no vo­cals, no singing or speak­ing – just sound.

Per­form­ers Ian Vincent, Si­mon Watts (both from New Zealand) and Do­minik Shad (Ger­many) say that’s ex­actly why the show has ex­pe­ri­enced its 27 years of suc­cess and pop­u­lar­ity.

“There is no speak­ing but ev­ery­one un­der­stands mu­sic,” Ian says.

“You don’t even have to be a mu­si­cal per­son to ap­pre­ci­ate mu­sic, so I think when you come see Stomp it’s fas­ci­nat­ing be­cause there’s stuff you see at home or on the street and you didn’t know it made a sound.

“Then when you’ve got eight peo­ple on­stage play­ing that one bor­ing thing, it turns into this in­cred­i­ble piece you’d never think of.”

A vet­eran among the three of them, Ian has been with Stomp for nearly 12 years af­ter a chance en­counter with some now-vin­tage tech­nol­ogy.

“I saw the show on DVD through high school, I watched it mul­ti­ple times but I didn’t re­alise it was a job.

“When the show came to Welling­ton I did the whole au­di­tion­ing process and made it in.

“They put you in roles that suit your per­son­al­ity and your back­ground so I’m mostly do­ing drum­ming and danc­ing.

“What I think peo­ple might not re­alise is the show is ac­tu­ally quite funny, but I’m def­i­nitely not the com­edy, that’s more these guys.”

Dom sits in the mid­dle of the two shrink­ing sheep­ishly as they both turn to him.

Not only is this his first time in Aus­tralia, it’s his first time in the south­ern hemi­sphere, some­thing made pos­si­ble by be­ing in Stomp, drum­ming and be­ing a lit­tle crazy.

“My back­ground is drum­ming, I’ve al­ways been a drum­mer,” he ex­plains.

“Play­ing in bands, study­ing drums, teach­ing drums, writ­ing books about drum­ming: Drum­ming.

“So when I tried out for Stomp, I got the drum role.

“And then over time my­self and my bosses dis­cov­ered I can also be the weird guy, maybe the crazy dude.

“We get roles in Stomp that re­ally suit us.

“So all the roles they fit, I en­joy be­ing the drum­mer guy and also the guy who goes nuts.”

Which begs the ques­tion, how nuts can one go with noth­ing but brooms and matches and no vo­cals?

“For ex­am­ple one of the rou­tines is called Pa­pers, and ba­si­cally all that hap­pens is one guy tries to read his pa­per and all the other Stom­pers ei­ther try to make mu­sic with the pa­per or this guy tries to ruin ev­ery­thing and just goes com­pletely in­sane,” Dom says proudly, mo­tion­ing to him­self.

“I’d say it (the show) is a re­minder that ev­ery­body should keep their child­ish play­ful­ness in dis­cov­er­ing mu­sic in ev­ery­day life.”

For Si­mon, that’s not a prob­lem. He’s been mak­ing mu­sic from the bare min­i­mum since he could walk.

“I’ve been sur­rounded by mu­sic my whole life,” he says.

“I’ve al­ways had a fas­ci­na­tion with rhythm and that’s what I love most about the show.

“The story my mum loves to tell to em­bar­rass me with is when I was a tod­dler she walked into the laun­dry and I was danc­ing to the beat of the wash­ing ma­chine.

“And I stayed in there for a full 40 min­utes just bopping around to the wash­ing ma­chine.”

And what might sound hi­lar­i­ous to most, is to­tally re­lat­able to his fel­low Stom­pers. “Have you ever done that with a printer though?” Dom in­jects ex­cit­edly, with­out even think­ing.

“Or a dial-up mo­dem?” Ian jumps in.

One ex­am­ple Si­mon uses is a cof­fee cup he holds in his hand.

“Stomp is an ex­plo­ration of rhythm with ev­ery­day ob­jects,” he says.

“It’s not about pick­ing up some­thing and think­ing ‘I’ll get a sound out of this,’ it’s pick­ing it up and think­ing ‘this part makes this sound, that part sounds like that’.

“A take­away cof­fee cup can make 15 dif­fer­ent sounds. And that’s just a cup.”

On the topic of noise, the guys want you to know that if you’re in the au­di­ence, they want plenty of noise from you.

“Aus­tralian au­di­ences are great be­cause they have a few drinks and ev­ery­one goes nuts,” Ian says.

“If you’re com­par­ing it to Ja­pan, there’s quite a big dif­fer­ence cul­tur­ally. Dur­ing the show ev­ery­one there is quiet and po­lite and re­spect­ful and then at the end of the show they go nuts.

“Here and Ger­many, places like that, they go crazy all the way through.

“The nois­ier the bet­ter – we get the en­ergy from the au­di­ence, they get the en­ergy from us so there’s give and take.”

Catch Stomp at The Star Gold Coast from May 31 to June 3. Tick­ets are $89.90 from star.com.au

I STAYED IN THERE FOR A FULL 40 MIN­UTES JUST BOPPING AROUND TO THE WASH­ING MA­CHINE

Marvel at how per­form­ers in rhyth­mic ex­trav­a­ganza Stomp use or­di­nary items to pro­duce ex­tra­or­di­nary sounds when the in­ter­na­tional hit heads to The Star.

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