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Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, December 21, 2000

Courtesy photo
The cast of Stomp!

The beat goes on
with ‘Stomp’

Bullet Stomp
Bullet When: 8 p.m. tonight, Dec. 26, 27, 29; 5 and 9 p.m. Dec. 22, 23, 28, 30; 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 31
Bullet Where: Hawaii Theatre
Bullet Tickets: $25 to $49.50 at Hawaii Theatre box office
Bullet Call: 528-0506, 526-4400

By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin

It would be easy to simply applaud the return of "Stomp" at the Hawaii Theatre with generic accolades such as "dazzling" or "high charged," but this uniquely entertaining show deserves more imagination than that. The thing that makes "Stomp" such great entertainment is that imagination is what it is all about. An anonymous eight-member ensemble cast creates more than 90 minutes of fascinating entertainment, demonstrating the seemingly endless ways in which percussive music can be created from any available object.

There's much more to "Stomp" than that but it is the show's celebration of the limitless scope of the human imagination that makes it such perfect family entertainment. There's enough theatrical substance here to entertain adults. Kids will gain fresh perspectives on the creative possibilities in the world around them.

The setting -- a post-Apocalyptic junkyard populated by ragged but energetic proles -- will be familiar to anyone who saw "Stomp" here in the '90s. The cast is uniformly versatile as percussionists, dancers and actors. The interaction between them makes the show a colorful study in the ways people relate to each other. This edition of the long-running show is superb throughout.

The cast's percussive musical instruments include almost anything that can strike or be struck. The Stomp-ers build rhythms using push brooms, oil drums, lengths of pipe, sinks, packing cases, cigarette lighters, buckets, sticks, trash can lids, carpentry tools, and plastic water jugs. They also explore the sonic capabilities of paper sacks, soft-drink straws and sheets of newspaper.

Character is crucial in some of the segments and a couple of the anonymous performers quickly register as distinct personalities. Almost all of them project industrial strength attitudes but one is easily recognized as the show's comic underdog. He was a hit with the audience last night. Another of the stand-outs last night was the blonde Alpha-male. He quickly connected when he silently taught the crowd to clap on cue.

Another big hit last night was the segment where four of the men wear metal sinks of various sizes and use the objects as instruments. The men eventually stand still so they can drain their sinks into buckets and the basic stance is a familiar one. That by itself was sufficient to send much of the crowd into hysterics. When two of the men's water missed the buckets and splattered the stage the crowd went ape.

"Stomp" is strictly gender-neutral. The two women in the show slam, bam and pound things as aggressively as the men.

"Stomp" played Honolulu twice in the mid-'90s and surpassed its pre-opening hype both times. It does so again.

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