Cleveland, Ohio — It’s not often that the cast members of a show clap more than the audience, but this is the case with the touring production of “Stomp.” While the audience brings their hands together for applause, the cast uses variations of the movement to create an entertaining performance full of unconventional music making.

“Stomp” was created in 1991 by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas. Although they are a percussion show, the cast members use anything but conventional percussion instruments to make their music.  Since its early beginnings, the percussion show has become an international sensation, having toured numerous countries while winning various awards. Now, the touring production is stationed in the Connor Palace at Playhouse Square until Feb. 11.

A cast of 12 travels with the show but only eight performers take the stage each night — and judging by the demanding nature of “Stomp” —  surely the remaining four cast members off-stage are enjoying a much-deserved rest. On opening night, Ivan Salazar, Steve Weiss, Cade Slattery, Artis Olds, Krystal Renee, Kris Lee, Jonathon Elkins and Cary Lamb Jr. performed a one hour, 45 minute show without an intermission.

The set piece is not really a set piece at all. Instead, it is a musical instrument in itself. The colorful, two-storied structure is plastered with metal drums, street signs, accordion tubing and other various oddities. Despite the set’s initial hodge-podge appearance, almost every piece of the set is used to make music — further proving the cleverness and precision behind the production.

This show is remarkably clever. Taking household items such as trashcans, brooms, shopping carts, matchboxes, newspapers and even the kitchen sink, and using them to make engaging music is incredible.

Not only is “Stomp” audibly engaging, it is also visually beautiful. Watching performers spin in martial-arts fashion to hit instruments together is quite the sight. A number where paint cans are practically juggled through the air between one another is a testament to the performer’s precision and skill. Another highlight from the show is when the lights go down and the only illumination is provided by Zippo lighters. The mechanical clicks and ignition of the flames create a stunning musical number that is baffling in its creativity.

The performers are well-polished in their performances, executing choreography and movements with expertise. Although the performers are obviously practiced at their craft, their passion and energy never falter. “Stomp” has no dialogue, so performers use large personalities to convey their persona to the audience, creating funny interludes between songs.

Audiences are sure to provide plenty of applause during “Stomp,” but don’t be discouraged if your clapping is not nearly as skilled or as musical as the performers’ clapping on stage.

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WHERE: Connor Palace Theatre, 1511 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

WHEN: Through Feb. 11

TICKETS & INFO: $10-$75, call 216-241-6000 or visit playhousesquare.com

The cast of “Stomp.” Photo by Steve McNicholas

Gwendolyn is an arts journalist, media critic and aspiring author. She is a sophomore studying journalism and theater at Cleveland State University. She also reviews community theater for up to eight different newspapers in the Northeast Ohio area and has acted as a guest critic for the Cleveland Jewish News. As a member of the Cleveland International Film Festival Selection Committee, Gwendolyn has critiqued films for two years while also working as a stage manager for the Cleveland State Music Department. She loves reading, writing and the arts and she hopes to one day have a novel published.

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