Dallas Summer Musicals
Directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas
Lighting by Steve McNicholas and Neil Tiplady
Reviewed Performance 2/14/2017
Reviewed by Elaine Plybon, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
There are times when I see or hear about something new and wonder what was happening the day it was invented. I found myself wondering that all through the wonderfully entertaining performances of STOMP: The International Sensation, brought to the Music Hall at Fair Park by Dallas Summer Musicals.
STOMP was conceived of and created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas. The summer of 1991, STOMP was first performed in England and was a fast success with audiences and critics alike. Since 1991, it has been performed all over the world, on television, stage, and screen, and is the subject of numerous CDs and DVDs.
The performances are all done without traditional instruments, though the sounds are reminiscent of familiar percussion. The performers pick up items from the set and around the stage, such as brooms, matchboxes, steel drums and everything else you can imagine, even the kitchen sink! The talented musicians tap, clap, strum, and scoot sounds from common objects in a harmonious fashion, resulting in unbelievably synchronized rhythms that are extremely entertaining.
The set is designed to suggest an alleyway or industrial location, with scaffolding, empty steel drums, street signs, and various objects and structures that provide unusual instruments for the performers. One of my favorite moments was when two of the performers were swinging from scaffolding and beating various drums, pipes, and other items while the lights and other performers were joining in somewhat of a symphony.
This alone would have been ample entertainment itself, but in addition to the amazing sounds, the visual display was stunning. The performers tackled the precise choreography with ease, using their bodies as instruments and vehicles for movement. The lighting was always exactly what was needed to provide either a backdrop, depth, or an enlightening view of the action.
The stage at the Music Hall at Fair Park is an efficient proscenium which provided just the right amount of space to highlight each of the eight performers as they jumped, tapped, and yes, stomped about the stage. Even though there was always a lot happening on the stage, the precision and synchrony of it all was perfectly delivered throughout the evening. The energy of the performers was infectious and the audience wholeheartedly joined in clapping whenever the performers dictated so, although there was absolutely no dialogue.
I found the entire evening to be one of the most enjoyable I have experienced. In part, this is due to the innate nature of human beings to be drawn to rhythms and music. Additionally, after a long day, the opportunity to be hypnotized by the sounds and escape from deep thought while enjoying a perfectly performed work of art was priceless.
The performance is efficient, lasting around 90 minutes with no intermission. Although Stomp has been around for over two decades, it is still a very worthwhile must-see! The show has a limited run, and with the nominal price of tickets, the seats are sure to fill up quickly.
STOMP (National Tour)
Dallas Summer Musicals
at the Music Hall at Fair Park
909 1st Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75210
Plays through February 19th
Wednesday through Sunday at 7:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday matinee at 1:30 pm
Tickets are $15
For information and to purchase tickets, visit http://dallassummermusicals.org/ or call 214.691.7200.