"STOMP" created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas
Stick fights. Shopping cart races. The banging of pots and pans. At first glance, it may appear to be child’s play, but the skillful succession of synchronizations that makes up STG Presents’ “STOMP” is anything but. The one-hour and forty-five minute show, on stage through Dec. 8 at Seattle's Moore Theatre, is a perfect introduction to the arts for families.
The bottom line
Though “STOMP” may not be the first show that comes to mind when you think of a family holiday outing, if you’re looking to get maximum bang (heh) for your buck at a family-friendly show this season, “STOMP” is it.
Kids will relate to the playful exploration of rhythm and movement that makes up “STOMP.” That's because “STOMP” is “loose parts” play, all grown up, as performers explore the sounds and movements possible when turning actual trash into treasure.
The set and props are a colorful mishmash of discarded, banged-up street signs, rain-barrel drum kits, tin-can symbols, newspapers, matchboxes, sand, plastic bags, buckets, garbage cans and inner tubes. Really, it's everything — including the kitchen sink — used to create a variety of innovative and makeshift instruments. Items are thrown across, over, under, off and on stage. Performers jump, glide, even fly. Kids will love that nothing is off limits.
Short, easy-to-follow story lines frame each percussive performance scene. Performers invite the audience into a series of call-and-response-style clap-backs; they riff on ambient sounds in the theater; and mime various vignettes with plenty of slapstick and potty humor to keep kids laughing. The result is a delightfully playful symphony of sounds and movements sure to enthrall even the youngest, most novice theater-goers.
Best of all, “STOMP” might just be the most entertaining STEAM lesson my kids get all year. The array of sounds that are made from shapes of different pipes, trapped air, rustling sand and water especially fascinated my kids. After the show, they had plenty of questions about how performers pulled off various sounds, visual effects and movements. The answer, of course, is science... and art.
This morning, my 6-year-old son took a ball from his room and playfully bounced out rhythms onto the hardwood floor of our kitchen. “I call this ‘Bounce,’” he proudly proclaimed. He's already asked if we can make some of the seemingly simpler instruments that we saw performers use on stage: the plastic bag drum and a pipe chime. We’ll try and probably even fail, but the point is that he has taken inspiration from what he saw on stage.
Because “STOMP” takes everyday objects, everyday moments and everyday people and invites us to do what kids already do best: imagine.
What parents should know
Treats are sold at concession stands in the theater lobby. And kids (just mine?) will be thrilled to know that snacks are allowed in the theater during the show. (Just be sure to keep crinkling sounds from candy wrappers to a minimum during the performance.)
Also, beware: The front row is a splash zone when performers bring out the water works during one scene.
For parents of kids with sensory sensitivities, know that “STOMP” is a raucous, rollicking affair. Flashing lights, flying objects and loud sounds are all a large part of the show. That said, I'd guess the overall noise level is several decibels lower than what you'd encounter at your average rock concert.
If you go...
When: “STOMP” plays through Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. Hurry! Tickets are selling out fast.
Where: The Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Avenue, Seattle
Tickets: Buy online or in person at The Moore Theatre's box office. Prices are $35–$47.50 (group discounts available for groups of 10 or more.)
Run time: 1 hour and 45 minutes, no intermission.
Age recommendation: The content of the show is suitable for all ages, but this length of show is likely best-suited to ages 5 and older.
Parking: Several garages and pay lots are located nearby the theater, though street parking, if you can find it, makes for a quicker getaway after the show. Consider transit or ride-hailing to avoid parking hassles.