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Grand slam!


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POSTED: Sunday, December 27, 2009

Some things never get old. “;Stomp”; is one of them.

The high-energy celebration of percussive music, contemporary dance, visual comedy and the magic of the human imagination opened its fourth engagement at the Hawaii Theatre on Tuesday. Everything felt as fresh and engaging as always. Nothing dragged, nothing lagged, nothing seemed like filler.

Nicholas Young quickly established himself as the “;alpha male”; of the tribe, the one who appears first pushing a broom and then leads the others in demonstrating the push broom's potential as a percussive instrument.

Young had no problems connecting with the audience. Before long the crowd was following his lead and clapping rhythmically on cue.

               

     

 

'STOMP'

        » Where: Hawaii Theatre, 1130 Bethel St.
       

» When: 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 3 and 7 p.m. Sundays, through Jan. 3

       

» Tickets: $32 to $52; various discounts available

       

» Call: 528-0506 or www.tickets.com/venue_info.cgi?vid=203863

       

 

       

Andres Fernandez, his face expressive, his hair frizzed and floppy, was an audience favorite as the comic clown and underdog. In some segments, he ended up with the short end of things—bumped off the last remaining chair, or forced to perform with the shortest and smallest length of rubber hose, for example. In others he came out on top.

The tribe included two women who matched the men move-for-move and beat-for-beat. E. Donisha Brown performed with a mesmerizing intensity that was almost frightening. Jackie Bridges, her copper-red hair instantly eye-catching, moved through much of the show with smooth feline grace; however, she was also one of the four who performed suspended from the junkyard backdrop.

AS ALWAYS, “;Stomp”; appeals to all ages. The opening segments showed kids that custodial duty (known to generations of public school students as “;detention”;) need not be drudgery. Who knew you could make so much noise with a push broom?

A later number revealed that a study hall situation also has possibilities for self-entertainment. Fernandez was the initial focal point as a guy whose reading space is infringed on by others who crowd in around him sniffling, snorting and rustling papers. The focus gradually shifted to Elec Simon, another remarkable comic talent, who used sheets of newspaper to make a mask, a ghost, two ghosts, a hula skirt, and finally a bird that “;flew”; over Fernandez's head.

Bridges and Brown were joined by clean-cut John Angeles in the “;trash bag”; segment where a trio investigates the percussive and rhythmic potential of items such as soft-drink straws, plastic bags and brown paper bags. Kids will never look at “;rubbish”; the same way again!

An entirely different side of percussion was presented in tightly choreographed, combat-style numbers—some with sticks, others trash can lids—in which expatriate islanders Guillaume Carreira and Ivan Delaforce were featured prominently.

The show wasn't as loud as might be anticipated, and the performers' talent as actors was as important as their dancing and percussive skills.

Walking back to the car Tuesday night I was behind a family who had bought their kids souvenir “;Stomp”; drum sticks. The kids were exploring the percussive possibilities of every object they passed—and emulating the choreography too!

NOTE: ”;Stomp”; is here with a cast of 13 that also includes Cammie Griffin, Michael R. Landis, Guy Mandozzi, Justin Myles and Mike Silvia. None are designated as understudies and all perform on a rotating basis, sometimes in different roles from one show to the next. Therefore, no two performances are exactly alike and many feature different combinations of performers.