International percussion sensation STOMP hits the Kimmel Cultural Campus Merriam Theater now through January 2nd

-Brenda Hillegas
Feature photo by Steve McNicholas

Okay. There’s not much to say here except GO SEE STOMP! As a theatre fan, I’ve heard about STOMP for years (okay…decades even) and never had a chance to see it. If you’re not familiar with this incredible piece of theatre, known internationally and loved since the early 90s (it began in 1991 in the UK), get over to The Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Merriam Theater and experience STOMP for yourself. The show is here in Philadelphia through January 2nd.

STOMP uses everyday objects as percussion instruments to create a one-of-a-kind concert performance. Think ballet, step dancing, break dancing even…all combined with the perfect rhythm and timing of the performers on stage. Eight of them, all working together to create sounds from random items that actually sounds great when the right movements and taps are used. It’s mind blowing. There’s no dialogue and no orchestra- just the use of what’s on stage, facial expressions, laughs, silly sounds, and body language.

The set appears to be a junk yard with street signs, rain water barrels, crutches, brooms, garbage cans. Every single one of these pieces of “junk” will come together to prove that music can evolve from anything. From the sweeping of brooms to tapping on match boxes, you’ll be wowed at the ability for the performers to be so in sync and work together to make beautiful noise in this unique show. The choreography is wild too and I cannot even image the amount of practice put into STOMP to get every scene just right. Who knew there was an art to throwing garbage cans or suitcases at just the right angle?

Personally, I loved watching the performers simply clap and pound their hands to make a beat. But the more intense (and comedic) scene carrying sinks- I’m talking ones that include drying racks too- filled with water was amazing! Everyone has to get every second just right for it to work. People were swinging from the set, banging around, moving with shopping carts to make music, and even a full light/sound show using just Zippo lighters! Of course, the epic finale with trash cans of all sizes and materials was just WOW. I didn’t want to take my eyes off the stage for a single second, but be sure to close them for a bit anyway and feel the rhythm run through your body.

STOMP is about an hour and 40 mins long with no intermission. How could you put a pause on such an intense performance anyway? I was so impressed at how quickly the show moved and didn’t want it to end! The energy in STOMP will pull you out of the winter blues and it’s a great show for all ages. Grab tickets and read more about the Kimmel Cultural Campus health and safety policy here.

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