Theatre review: STOMP! @ The Lowry, Salford

Ever find yourself tapping out creative beats with whatever object is in front of you? Or impressing yourself with your ability to stir up a samba with nothing but a saucepan?

Well, I hate to break it to you – you’re not a musical prodigy – but you can console yourself by joining the 15million others worldwide who’ve spent a night with STOMP, the true experts at turning household objects into makeshift percussion.

STOMP launched at the Lowry last night with a riotous first show that saw the audience become the performers. Toes were tapping, seats were rocking and earplugs were offered – but not taken.

It is a performance with not a single spoken word so I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who was dubious about the show’s ability to have a story.  Or comedy.  Without words, comic performances often tow the delicate line between clichéd slapstick and awkward seriousness.

But STOMP manages it effortlessly, pulling off both the hard-to-achieve chuckle from the reluctant dads dragged along by their kids, to the innocent raucous giggling from the audience’s younger members.

While some of the scenes in the 80minute show are feats of human physical strength and energy, others are so perfectly choreographed and creatively designed that you could audibly hear the surprised gasps from the audience.

Clear favourites for last night’s spectators were the eight-piece group’s hilarious transformation of Zippo lighters and draining boards into tuneful instruments.

Before the opening of the show yesterday, the performers took their blend of fast-paced ‘industrial percussion’ to the streets of Manchester with an impromptu performance at Piccadilly Gardens.

Giving Mancunians a taste of what is to come during the shows this week, STOMP’s infectious mix of music and dance then continued onto the tram to MediaCity, leading intrigued punters following Pied Piper-style in their wake.

The show is part of the 2014 Salford and Trafford Family Arts Festival, a national initiative bringing the arts alive for families across the UK.

Having captivated the audience for a sweaty and exhausting hour-and-a-bit, they were praised with a standing ovation – in part because of the awe we all felt for the performers’ ability to keep pounding drums for so long and also because we wanted one last opportunity to have a dance.

STOMP! runs until Saturday November 1 at The Lowry.

Tickets start at £18 – to get yours, click here.

Image courtesy of yesnoproductionsuk, via YouTube, with thanks

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