Monday, September 19, 2005

Stomp : The good, the bad and the ugly

I drove to Istana Budaya to see Stomp last night. It was the first time I was driving to that part of KL. Nightfall didn't help either. I ended up making a few wrong turns but eventually arrived safe and sound.

Hubby didn't want to come along for the show. "What for?" he asked. So no. 3 accompanied me. He had been looking forward to it since the day I won the tickets from Mixfm.

The good

Plastic bags. Match boxes. Gas lighters. Hubcabs. Oil drums. Kitchen sinks. Boxes. Poles. Brooms. Garbage bins. Bare hands. I never knew these stuff can actually make music. Percussion music to be exact. The rhythm that they churned out with these everyday paraphernalia is amazing. I closed my eyes and thought I was listening to some nifty drummer instead.

No. 3 loved the slapstick humour in the first half of the show. He particularly liked the antics of the red-haired dork who was the oddball of the group. When Red-hair came on stage with a mop the size of a car tyre, no. 3 laughed and clapped enthusiastically. I was more tickled by his enjoyment than Red-hair's shenanigan with the gigantic mop.

My favourite scene was the kitchen-sink performance. Four muscular Stompers with kitchen sinks hanging from their neck made music by hitting their rubber-gloved hands on the sink and tapping utensils such as cups and containers which they fished out from the sink. Then they unplugged the sinks and flushed out the water into strategically placed buckets, making it look as if they were taking a leak. To complete the toilet humour, one of them even did the "shake", you know, to get rid of drippings.

The main Stomper, a fair complexioned handsome young man, had great rapport with the audience. He got us clapping along with him. He would clap in a certain way, say long-long-short-short-long and we would try to mimic him.

The bad

The show kicked off with the broom performance, followed by the matchbox ditty, then the hand-clapping, the poles-clacking etc. I started to wonder when they were going to hit those big garbage bins. That must be reserved for the finale, I thought.

I was right. And when it came, it came with a bang. I didn't like it. It was too loud and in your face. The din made by the garbage bins, oil drums and bin covers clanged together like cymbals was too much for both me and no. 3. He covered his ears with his hands. By then he was a bit bored because there was no more funny antics from Red-hair. He tried to snuggle down on my lap but the armrest of the chair prevented him from getting comfortable. In the end he sat up and pulled his sweater over his head.

Have you seen those Transformer Robots with big feet? Well, we saw them at Stomp. No, actually they looked more like stilt-walkers, but instead of stilts they were walking on huge metal drums which had boots molded onto the top. It was quite a sight, seeing these giants traipsing on stage.

The ugly

All right, they weren't really ugly. I mean the Stompers' clothes. They looked like something the janitors or workmen would wear to work : dungarees, paint-stained pants, baggy bermuda shorts and the likes. I know it's in keeping with the theme but couldn't they have come up with something more colourful instead of drab brown, grey and black?

At the end of the day

My tickets cost RM250 a piece. I definitely won't pay this much to see Stomp. For a mere fraction of it, just maybe, I might, to see what the hype was all about.

Having said that, I must say I was impressed by the harmony of the Stompers' performance. There wasn't a click or a clack which was out of rhythm. They must have put in countless hours of practice to achieve this concord.

I remember reading in the papers that there was a standing ovation at the end. In this performance, it was the main Stomper who beckoned us to stand. The audience clapped and cheered enthusiastically. I didn't mind that this was a "forced" standing ovation for suddenly the coast became clear for us to make a quick get-away. We were among the first to hit the carpark.

But the finale was way too much for my ears. My head became mush, I got lost and went round and round in circles around Jalan Tun Razak and Kampung Pandan. After stopping at three petrol stations and asking six people for directions, it took me two hours to get home from KL to Klang when it could've taken me just an hour.


Kak Teh said...

Lydia, when we get to the stage when music sounds like noise, then it means only one thing - age!
I see the advert on stomp here but i have not been persuaded to go yet.
there's enough stomp in my front room - No: 1 is learning to play the guitar!

Lydia Teh said...

Kak Teh, agree! Actually, the kids hoolabaloo at home is something like that.

marsha said...

an avid fan of musicals, i was going to buy tickets to the stomp show...until i read your review.

thank goodness. i am more the calamity jane, singing in the rain and gigi musical person, not noisy and ear-blasting music. so, maybe its a good thing that i didn't pay RM250 to go for that show either.


Lydia Teh said...

Marsha, actually the show started off pretty well. The "music" was interesting and rather soothing at certain points but after about an hour of the 100 minutes show, (we kept looking at the watch) the novelty starts to wear off. The other spectators seem to be enjoying it, judging by the applause. It's not my cup of tea though. The Stompers won't like me, they've just lost a potential paying spectator!

mayyinn said...

I asked my Uncle about his experience and he mentioned the same thing. After a while, he starts to wonder... What else is there?

Lydia Teh said...

Mayyin, glad I'm not the only one who felt that way. Thanks for sharing that.

bibliobibuli said...

I would have loved to have seen it ... but it's not so much the cost of the tickets as the fact that the seats at Istana Negara are uncomfortably close together for someone tall and this has ruined past performances for me. I'm boycotting the venue as much as I can.

Lydia Teh said...

Sharon, it's quite a squeeze in there but for shorties like me, okaylah. Probably the Istana Budaya is built for small Malaysians only. Did you realise you typed Istana Negara LOL, where got chance to go there unless you get Datukship?

Jane Sunshine said...

Lydia, I saw Stomp in London and actually left halfway. I thought it was blearghhh...totally agree with you. Couldn't understand what the hulabaloo was all about, really. I got this sneaky feeling that maybe ppl where influenced by the gushing reviews more than anything else.

Lydia Teh said...

Jane, yes, yes. I think they've got a great PR machinery going, if nothing less.