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
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.