PERCUSSION group Stopmp have been banging the same drum ever since they debuted at the Fringe in 1991.
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A global phenomenon, the Brighton-based team has performed for American Presidents, starred in Coca-Cola commercials, and picked up so many awards along the way, it’s a surprise they haven’t used them as props in their show. Thing is, little has changed over the years.
A small but vocal audience welcomed the eight-piece ensemble onto the big stage at the Festival Theatre keen to tap, clap and slap along to the beats. Those who had seen the show before interested to see how it had evolved. Sadly, a couple of new routines was about the extent of it.
Given the street, hip-hop feel of the show, music remains largely absent. Incorporating some martial arts forms into the piece was a welcome sight, but the addition of break dance would further the show’s already global appeal. A Riverdance of Urban culture if you will.
To be fair, the show is called Stomp, so if the thought of 100 minutes of constant pounding on bins, barrels and bouncy tyres feels repetitive and lacking in ideas, then this probably isn’t for you.
The performers certainly look the part. Colourful, pumped up, they are incredibly tight.
The large stage set could have been utilised better, however, save the mid-show batterama of anything you could get a sound out of - yes, even the kitchen sink. And virtually every scene starts the same way, too: one person starting a beat on a matchbox, a tub, or a broom, before everyone else joins in.
The highlight: a cleverly choreographed scene involving cigarette lighters.
The low-key toilet humour will appeal to children, and there’s opportunity for the audience to engage with the performers, as well.
Unfortunately, so poorly has Stomp grown in the past two decades, it just feels like watching a band of above-average street-juggling entertainers on the Royal Mile.
Run ends Sunday