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Stomp Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Tue

16—Sat 20 Feb The rocking Stompers are back with their populist, puckish and primal rhythmic invention intact. Created by Brighton-based Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, Stomp is one of the decade's biggest cultural success stories. Since premiering on the Edinburgh Fringe in 1991, the production has become both global phenomenon and virtual franchise. A handful of Stomp companies now storm the world, following a deceptively simple formula: corral eight adepts in grubby garb for each performance and unleash them on a battery of everyday and industrial objects.

These noisemaking wonders range from matchbooks, buckets, bin-lids and brooms to plungers, paint-scrapers and oil-drums converted into giant platform shoes. The roster of materials includes everything and the kitchen sink. The result is a sustained, glorified busking show with a labourer's scrap-heap aesthetic. Think of it as neo- Dickensian vaudeville with a literal kick, shuffle and bang. When the cast climbs the fencing up at the back of the stage and starts clattering on the discarded metal and plastic items tied there, the racket's so rich you're dancing in your head.

The show’s appeal is immediate and basic. Anyone who's ever tapped a pen on a desk or a spoon on a plate should be able to relate. It 'speaks‘ percussively to the child in all of us, who'd like to beat two sticks together or spontaneously thump about in kitchen, garage or alley. Not that the episodic spectacle is all crash and boom. Among the subtler sounds produced is a little, comic sit-down symphony of ensemble newspaper rustlings, sniffles and throat-clearings.


Thu 11 Feb

A Ghanaian t'(‘-a(lii.'tti r'i:rlr."le

fat es age livuig in Stotlarrri, rt-iler ting or: the differences

horn womari

Bin there. done that: Stomp comes to The Festival Theatre

As its popularity has escalated, Stomp has shed some

Not shy: Rosina Bonsu in Coconut

between her' life and her mother’s not an thIous rhoire of material for a dance-drariia solo

Rosina Borisu's latest work has teasing moments where you wait to see what (liret tiori she's going to take, but Just as the steps are fairly

of its spontaneous roughness. Yet Cresswell, McNicholas and company remain dab hands at working audiences into a bring-down-the-house frenzy. Just about the only words uttered are a climactic invitation to all of us to ’Just let yourself 90'. And do we ever. This slick but irresistible entertainment is a healthy reminder that the tools of sound and motion and play are all around us. (Donald Hutera).

See reader offers page 112.\

limited in range, her monologue never seems to gurte get in focus. Should we rage With her against the indignities Suffered by her mother from mid-20th century traditional gender roles in West Africa? Ponder what it is she seeks in her own independent life in Scotland? lo the end the piece seems too basrc for its own good, a tale of daily life illuminated more by the slightly qurrky set deSign than the ins:ghts of BonSU's thinking


It's a pity, as Bonsu has a solid 1 presence and earthy movement style

that could bring a refreshing angle to

a role for a mature dancer She (learly has strong feelings about the issues :

she works through on stage, but leaves her audience not so much wanting more as puzzling over her rriessage. (Dori Morris)


Unmissable Very good Worth a Shot Below average


Y0u've been warned

reviews THEATRE


Romeo 8: Juliet

Musselburgh: Brunton Theatre, until Sat 13 Feb * ‘k 1%

Despite being one of Shakespeare’s most popular and accessible works, as a play Romeo & Juliet has problems, weaknesses even. The success of any production depends upon the skill with which director and cast overcome these difficulties, and David Mark Thomson’s version at the Brunton is no exception. Some obstacles are sidestepped with considerable flair and innovation, while others prove insurmountable.

Take the opening Capulet vs. Montague face off. Having young women in Sharp, Reservoir Dogs Style Surts play the rival gangs was an interesting idea, and straight away prevents any cosy familiarity on the part of the audience. Unfortunately, the ensuing rumble is Staged in a way devoid of menace, robbing the play of the undercurrent of violence essential to maintain the tension beneath the love Story. You simply don’t believe that Romeo and his pals are risking death by gatecrashing the Capulets’ bash.

Perhaps the greatest challenge falls to the actress playing Juliet. Whereas Romeo makes the transition from lovesick callow youth to a man consumed by passion, we hardly see Juliet before they meet and she starts off on her own personal emotional rollercoaster. In Iona Carburns, this play is blessed with a performer of magnetic Stage presence who also happens to be technically adroit. It's a fault of the play that Juliet must plumb a series of emotional depths beginning with Tybalt's death, and often the actress in question becomes too hysterical too quickly and is left with nothing in the tragedy locker when the time comes to take her own life. Carburns overcomes this by accepting death wrth an air of resignation. Only Estrid Barton's portrayal of the Nurse comes close to Stealing Juliet's thunder. She iS an earth mother to treasure, and contrasts brilliantly With the impressive Emma Currie, whose Lady Capulet is a Bonfire of the Vanities type Social X- Ray, These performances are reason enough to make the trip to Musselburgh, and it is they, rather than the production as a whole, which will live in your memory if you do.

(Rob Fraser)

From Bard to nurse

4— l 8 Feb 1999 THE UST 59