By Libby Salmon, aged 10 years old
One of the best shows I’ve seen this year is Stomp! My family and I went to London to watch them perform at the Ambassador’s Theatre. Stomp! Is a group of people who make music without instruments. They use things like dustbin lids, shopping trolleys, lighters and other household items, or even different parts of their bodies to produce rhythms and music.
We got there early to collect our tickets, because we were going with a large group of home educators. This meant we had a while to wait in the theatre. There was an atmosphere of excitement and expectation. The theatre is quite small, so although our seats were in the middle of the stalls, we were still quite near to the front. This meant we had a good view!
Before the show started, there were staff selling programmes and merchandise such as CDs, books, t-shirts and a couple of more unexpected things: lighters, drumsticks and raincoats. Then the house lights dimmed and a single man walked onto the stage holding a broom. He might have been a cleaner; however it soon became clear that he was in fact a performer opening the show. As well as sweeping he started to tap his broom, making rhythms. Then a second sweeper joined him on the stage, with a greeting cry of “Oy-oy!” They swept and tapped together until a third sweeper came along, then a fourth, fifth and sixth. The rhythm of their brooms was compelling.
Although he was obviously very good, one of the performers acted as though he was clumsy. The others sometimes treated him differently, to comic effect. For example one of the acts used sand to make the brooms louder and when the man handing out sand got to this performer he gave him just a pinch whereas he had given the others a generous handful. After a pause, he started shovelling sand out of his pockets with a pleased grin which made us all laugh.
My favourite act was the one with the shopping trolleys, which used trolleys, water containers and big cardboard boxes to make interesting sounds. It started with one man trying to read his newspaper next to a trolley and developed into a complex pattern of trolleys being spun and passed from person to person all around the stage. Suddenly, through a gap in the middle of the action, the newspaper reading man hurtled across the stage sitting in a shopping trolley still reading his newspaper. The audience roared with laughter!
The most impressive act was also the noisiest, using oil drums as stilts to make clumping noises. As usual the clumsy performer rushed on stage trying to join in, wearing rather smaller and quieter stilts made with paint pots from a previous act. A similar situation was when they had finished using the brooms and were sweeping away the sand from the stage. They had just finished and were getting out match-boxes to start the next act, when the comic performer appeared on stage with an enormous two-handled broom and an equally huge grin on finally getting the biggest piece of equipment – just a little too late!
At the end it was so good they came back on for an encore. It was amazing and we all loved it!
What’s your favorite performance you have seen and why?