STOMP Puts Audience First In Revamped Show At The Segerstrom Center For The Arts
STOMP’s return to Orange County lived up to its promises of visual and aural excitement, but the show at times felt like it over welcomed its stay on stage with a couple lackluster acts.
For the most part, the cast of STOMP worked hard to display how ordinary objects can make extraordinary sounds, balancing simplicity and innovation on stage. Most of the time, the show was successful in eliciting whoops and cheers from the audience.
- Lights shone behind the STOMPers as they made beats with wooden poles, casting their shadows along the walls around the audience. The oversized shadows dancing around the audience made the whole room seem to come alive.
- STOMPers were suspended and swung back and forth to hit random objects along the backdrop. It was a great use of the whole stage vertically, and the bright colors and lights brought some vivacity to the otherwise muted color scheme.
Other times though, the show felt like it could have done without.
- Three cast members sat on stage and shook and hit plastic bags to create sounds that seemed to mimic drum cymbals. Sometimes simple doesn’t work well for the stage. The visual spectacle that’s necessary to hold the audience’s attention was lost.
- The Zippo lighter sequence sounded promising, but the cast members stood in a row turning lighters on and off in the dark. Really, there shouldn’t be any question in people's minds as to whether a lighter missed its cue.
With everything happening on stage, STOMP still made the audience’s experience a top priority.
The structure of STOMP used the audience’s applause as transitions into between acts, and each audience member became a type of honorary STOMPer. The cast is, in fact, almost hyperaware of the audience’s presence, using call-and-response claps to really bring the audience into the family drum circle.
STOMP’s many acts keep the audience interested (most of the time), but what distinguishes STOMP from other shows is its audience interaction. The audience loves the show for that and perhaps that’s why STOMP is still going strong after 20 years.