'Stomp' turns 22 this year, and it's not difficult to see why the show has lasted so. Take a troupe of sexy young performers in overalls, add an array of junkyard items moonlighting as percussion instruments, publicise with a series of high-profile, global advertising campaigns, and you have the recipe for an international hit. I saw 'Stomp' at the age of ten and remember staring agape at all those fit men with their big muscles and even bigger dustbins.
But that's not all there is to 'Stomp'. As well as attractive player-dancers and the wow factor of rhythms beaten out on bin lids, a complete absence of words means it can cater to audiences of all nationalities. That may be why, on a freezing January week night, the Ambassadors was heaving with teens on dates and grandparents clutching overcoats squeezed between crowds of German tourists.
So does 'Stomp' still pack a punch? Yes – to a degree. The performers remain exhaustingly energetic, and there's something undeniably impressive about watching brooms, oil cans and vacuum-cleaner tubes transformed into musical instruments before your eyes. Despite becoming a global behemoth, the show has managed to retain some of its original irreverence: it grew out of the street-theatre scene, first becoming a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe, and it remains bigger and better than the many copycat shows that have sprung up in its wake.
But 100 minutes is a long time to watch people play with rubbish, however talented they are; and there are moments of toe-curling humour (a pipe held suggestively, men sloshing water from sinks as if standing at a urinal) aimed squarely at the juvenile quarter of the audience. The kids laughed their heads off; I wished I could have brought along my ten-year-old self.
|Venue name:||Ambassadors Theatre||Contact:|
|Transport:||Tube: Leicester Square tube|
|Price:||£26-£67.50. Runs 1hr 45mins (no interval)|