What's new, what's out when 'Stomp' returns to PH

By Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jun 12 2014 09:38 PM | Updated as of Jun 13 2014 02:53 PM

A scene from "Trolleys," a new routine in "Stomp." Photo: Handout

MANILA – When the theatrical hit “Stomp” returns to Manila next week, it won’t be a mere re-run for the global sensation that has played a record 23 years on Broadway.

Apart from the inclusion of Filipino Stomper Andres Fernandez in the touring cast, the show will also include two new routines which were added to the show’s already kinetically charged repertoire just last year.

“Stomp,” which uses common items like brooms, garbage can lids and paint cans to create beats, has added plumbing fixtures and the supermarket trolley to its list of percussion “instruments” for the new routines “Frogs” and “Trolleys,” respectively.

“I love that number,” Fernandez said about “Trolleys,” which is called “Shopping Carts” in the United States. “When the music actually kicks in, it’s just like ‘Oh, man!’ it’s such an amazing number!”

Fernandez’s co-stars in Manila are also awed by the concept of “Trolleys,” which also includes carts gliding across the stage and slamming into each other.

“Before I got in to the show, when I was watching it, that was, for me, the most impressive routine,” Emma King told members of the Philippine media who met the British cast members in London recently.

“There was a lot to learn,” noted Adam Buckley, who also performs with the London company of “Stomp.” “It just sounds fantastic and it’s very fun to do.”

“It gets complex as well,” added Shay Carroll, who is part of the “Stomp” touring company. “There’s a section in the middle we call triplets and you know, when we’re playing triplets, we all play an individual number within that triplet. So we’re all performing different numbers. It took me ages (to learn it). I started doing the show and two months later, I just understood it and it clicked.”

A scene from "Frogs," a new routine in "Stomp." Photo: Handout

“Frogs,” which is a much shorter number, gets its name because of the sound created by the plumbing fixtures used by the cast.

“When I first saw the ‘Frog’ scene, for me, it was kind of musical because everything starts in the dark, so you just hear it,” said Hugo Cortez, a member of the London cast of “Stomp,” which is now on its 12th year in the West End.

“So everything is in the dark, you just hear the noise, so you’re trying to figure out what they’re actually using. And once the light comes on, and reveals what it is, you’re kinda, ‘Oh, it makes sense now.’ So, yeah, it’s quite cool.”

Always changing

Luke Creswell, who created “Stomp” with fellow Briton Steve McNicholas, told the Philippine media in London that “everything’s always changing” with the show.

“We don’t always take one thing out and put it in. ‘Frogs’ and ‘Trolleys’ are new pieces but the other things have been slowly changing,” he said.

“The concept of making rhythms from everyday objects, that has never changed. Some of the key instrument like the brooms and the dust pans, we still use those. But most of the choreography has changed. It’s gotten more complex. We got better. When we started this, it was like a new language that we all learned. Now, they (the cast) is better than we were. So I can make it more complex because they’re better performers. So if you look at what we did at brooms 20 years ago, what we do now is totally different, very different,” explained Creswell, who last performed “Stomp” around four years ago.

Luke Creswell (top left) and rehearsal director Fraser Morrison with the London cast of "Stomp" Hugo Cortez, Adam Buckley, Emma King and Shay Carroll pose for a photo at the Ambassadors Theatre. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for ABS-CBNnews.com

Because of the two new routines, Creswell said they decided to cut “Chairs” from the show.

“We’ve always wanted to do ‘Trolleys’ for a long time. But we started on ‘Trolleys’ not really sure where it will go,” he said, noting that the two routines have the same spirit. “But it felt right to take it (‘Chairs’)out and to put that one in. I think it was the right decision.”

As for “Frogs,” Creswell described it as a “smaller piece.”

“We wanted to do something just for a different sound. We put that into a few different places until we were settled and even now we still change it,” he said.

But even those who saw the new routines in London are in for a different experience in Manila. For one, Creswell pointed out that the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines is much bigger than the Ambassadors Theatre, which houses “Stomp” in the West End.

“It will be much bigger in Manila. This is a bit small theater; I think that’s twice the size. This is actually a very different show here,” Creswell said of the Ambassadors.

“We are really excited about coming back to Manila,” added co-creator McNicholas in a statement. “If you’ve never seen ‘Stomp’ you should come and see what all the noise is about, and if you have, come again and see what’s new.”

“Stomp” will have a limited return engagement in Manila from June 17 to 22 at the CCP Main Theater.