By Kimberly Rau
Fans of offbeat theater, rejoice: Stomp, the percussive hit that started out in Australia 24 years ago and has barely stopped to rest since, is in Providence, though you’ll have to be almost as quick as the cast’s drumbeats to catch it–it’s only here for two more performances, both this Saturday.
Created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, Stomp is 90 minutes of eight extremely talented artists banging on any and everything, including the kitchen sink. Literally. And while an hour and a half is a long time to listen to anyone be loud with garbage can lids and buckets (and lighters and bags and strip-lighting recycling containers…), what the cast pulls off is nothing short of remarkable. They hang from the walls. They dance with shopping carts and drum on giant inner tubes strapped around them with bungee cords. It’s energetic and funny. There are blatant slapstick moments but also moments of more subtle humor…and all without saying a word.
That doesn’t mean there’s no communication, of course, and the cast is adept at conveying emotion through body language and rhythm. Of the cast of eight, one suspendered young man is intentionally awkward and brushed off…and he’s one of the funniest people on the stage. If you think you can’t imply a range of feeling through pieces of pipe insulation in various degrees of thickness, boy, are you wrong. There are moments when the audience gets involved as well, which works to keep things engaging (and there’s truly nothing funnier on the stage than what happens when you get several hundred random people to try and clap on a beat).
Stomp has no real plot, just a series of vignettes ranging from solo numbers to the entire cast. The most impressive moments are the ones when everyone goes big, though, and the finale is really something to be seen.
Stomp isn’t for everyone; though the content is appropriate for all ages, those with noise sensitivities will want to skip this one. All others should consider a trip into the city this weekend to see what all the hype is about.
Stomp has two performances on Saturday, April 12, at 2 p.m. and 7:30. Tickets start at $36 and may be obtained at the box office, online at ppacri.org, or by calling 401.421.2787 .