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Stomp

"Stomp" at the IU Auditorium is a lovely mix of creative percussion, movement and the sort of fun that audiences used to get from a full evening’s variety show. Tuesday night’s performance was greeted by a warmly responsive, varied and enthusiastic audience.

The stage set up for "Stomp" looks a little like a set for "Cats" with that same sort of junkyard feel. The show begins with the company’s familiar sweep broom ballet. More dust is raised than is swept, but in the piece it seems as if every possible part of those brooms has been used for sound and darned near every rhythm has been explored. As the evening went on brooms gave way to match boxes, to dust pans, tuned air conditioner insulation hoses, a steel band of kitchen sinks, water jugs, exquisitely timed basketballs and even a magically musical glockenspiel of putty knives.

There were individual percussion pieces in "Stomp"’s show at the IU Auditorium, but often a single set of props became part of a varied suite of performances. The eight members of the cast sometimes appeared as a unit, sometimes a sextet, at other times a quartet, trio, duo or solo. The music is very available but quite sophisticated. While "Stomp" can be plenty loud and boisterous, timbre, tone and rhythmic intricacy are frequently much more important than volume.

The choreography of "Stomp" can look as loose and improvised as a corner jam session and then in the next moment have the precision and flair of a chorus line. Throughout the evening comedy was always very much in evidence. There was plenty of mock competition. Each member of the group had his or her own character with its own particular successes, failures and quirks.

The pace and variety of "Stomp" kept the audience very much energized and involved. As part of the finale, the group’s leader challenged the audience to a whole series of percussion challenges. It was all in good fun. Our clapping went pretty well and stomping was ok, but I was most impressed as I and thirty-five hundred people did a pretty classy job of snapping our fingers in rhythm.

"Stomp"’s delightful mix of percussion, movement and visual comedy has its final performance at the IU Auditorium this evening at eight.

George Walker

After completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

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