Preview: Stomp

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FROM a single drum, hanging around Luke Cresswell’s neck back in 1991, the hit show Stomp has taken on a life of its own, utilising rubber hosing, Zippo lighters, plastic bags, bin lids and even the kitchen sink to entertain audiences.

In 1983, Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, members of the Brighton street band Pookiesnackenburger brought Bins, a small but resourceful percussion show, to the Fringe.

From Bins came Stomp, an infectious riot of urban rhythm that has now played more than 14,000 performances in 50 countries.

Since their last visit to the Capital in 2010, the Stomp cast have performed in the closing ceremony at the 2012 Olympics and introduced two new pieces to the show, Frogs and Trolleys.

There’s a chance to see both at the Festival Theatre this week, as the show returns to the city.

Trolleys taps into the everyday experience of negotiating a busy shopping aisle with a fully laden supermarket trolley but soon transforms into the closest Stomp will ever get to drum corps.

Frogs explores the bizarre sonic possibilities of a variety of plumbing fixtures. It has to be heard to be believed, but close your eyes and this piece sounds unlike anything ever heard in the show till now.

Organic, quirky and plumbing new heights.

Cresswell and McNicholas are very happy with the way the new pieces have slotted in to Stomp’s high-ocatne mix of sound, movement and physical humour.

Recalling the origins of the show, Cresswell says, “I had performed lots of rhythmic pieces, from suspending and drumming off buildings to wearing suits of armour made of old cymbals.

“Stomp came about over a period of time, almost like looking back on all of the crazy rhythm projects I had and realising that a show might be possible.

“Working with Steve McNicholas was the key really. He has a background in theatre and helped the project grow.

“As he is not a drummer he would soon point out when it became too self indulgent and stopped the idea becoming just a long drum solo.”

McNicholas admits that at the time he could never have dreamed the show would still be going today.

“We thought it would have a three year life-span and then we would probably move on. Most projects we’d been involved in had a natural life-span of three to five years and there was no reason to think this would be otherwise.

“In fact we thought it might be shorter, because we weren’t really sure that anyone other than ourselves would be interested in a show purely about rhythm.”

Cresswell adds, “I think Stomp brings out the drummer in all of us. Rhythm is a language that we use everyday without ever realizing. Stomp reminds us of that.”

Stomp, Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, until Sunday, 7.30pm (matinees 2.30pm), £16-£29.50, 0131-529 6000