Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I never expected to say this, but last night,
noise was music to my ears!
Not just any kind of noise, but organised, choreographed and polished noise like what STOMP produces. Not a single decibel was wasted on me; the raw energy was invigorating after a day at work.

I first watched them bang, hammer, shake and rattle live on stage in Brisbane's South Bank in 1997. I remember leaving the Performing Arts Centre wanting to bounce off walls and tap my hands
and feet on anything just to produce some noise.
It was in a very strange way infectious.

Twelve years later at the Esplanade here, I left the theatre feeling just as pumped. It's a bit of Happy Feet-meets-Wicked Aura-meets-Street Fighter-meets-Mr Bean. People always say you shouldn't get your hopes too high the second time you watch any performance. So I was guarded and kept my expectations conservative, but they stomped
onto stage and blew me away (again)!

The opening number was memorable. From a lone broom to eight brooms brushing and knocking the floor boards at carefully scripted intervals. I'd never felt so inspired to want to sweep the house till every speck of dust is panned and put away. The energy of the performers was evident, with at least four broomstick heads snapping off in the act or broken in two.

The show demonstrated that every conceivable object, be it a pencil in your mouth or a single finger clap can produce a sound. When you have a sequence going and a rhythm as the bed, you've got music without the notes. Though there were scenes where you could always pick out distinct notes floating through. These largely resonated from the rubber tubings and empty plastic bottles that usually belong bottoms-up on a water dispenser.

Despite all the noise, a rotund performer rose above the pandemonium, adding a light touch of comic relief throughout the show. Just fifteen minutes shy of two hours, I was never in want of an intermission during the show nor found myself reaching for my mobile phone to check if I'd any missed calls or text messages.

The show was sometimes deafening, especially when all the performers whacked steel and iron (pots, pans, hub caps, sign boards, drums, tins and bins), but silence those moments out and you'd appreciate an orchestra of noise makers who've perfected the art of making percussive music and musical percussions.

STOMP is now on till 11th October at the Esplanade Theatre.
Tickets from $40 - $120 available through

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