So, I didn’t actually go to see Stomp today but bear with me…I sent my small envoys to review it for me. Reuben plus the two teenage temp-LWATers. They enjoyed it, and I’ll get onto their comments later. I probably won’t explain the complex calculations I did that led to them going and not me (short version: Eva is spooked by loud noises) but let me walk you through stuff I did and didn’t do today.
I didn’t go to the Tower of London. But the assorted kids and young people did. Reuben liked the armour and Eva liked the crown jewels. Little surprise there. I was at work while they were having fun/killing time but I picked the whole load of them up at Tower Hill at 2 and we headed to Covent Garden for the next part of the day – Stomp!
In case you haven’t heard of it. Stomp has been a fixture of the West End for the last 15 years – it debuted around the time one of my young reviewers was born. I know, I feel old too. Even if you don’t know the name, you’d probably recognise the iconic poster of a man leaping in the air with a dustbin lid – it’s the show where everyday objects are used to make percussive music. There are no words, no songs as such but a fierce energy and a lot of rhythm.
Teen #1, henceforth known as “niece”, is a dancer so really appreciated the complexity of all the movement. She said the timing was really tight, down to the split second. The ensemble works instinctively together and make it look effortless, which I’m sure sustaining 100 minutes of perfect rhythm can’t be. There’s a great chemistry between the players and a lot of physical comedy.
Talking of which, Reuben’s sole comment was that “it was very loud and funny”. When pressed, he said that he particularly liked a “funny bald guy”. A conflab with the teens and a quick Google suggests to me that it might be Paul Bend. Whoever it was, you made Reuben laugh. Roo also thought the bit with the bins was hilarious – I think he might be inspired to start creating his own music on stuff he finds around the house. That’ll be peaceful.
Niece’s favourite cast member was “the really attractive guy”, who we think might be Rob Shaw. Teen #2, who we’ll call “niece’s boyfriend” has been a bit quiet on this subject. It must be tough competing with a guy who can get a tune out of a broomhandle. All of them enjoyed the dishwashing scene, where four men appeared with sinks slung round their necks and used the cups and plates in the sink, their rubber gloves and even the sink itself to make music. I’ve just looked it up on YouTube and I love the subtle competitiveness of it all, especially the moment where it threatens to turn into a full-on water fight.
The show is 100 minutes with no interval and I wasn’t sure how they would all cope with it, given they’ve had a full on week so far and a long morning at the Tower. But niece said the show went much quicker than she was expecting and even Roo managed to sit still through it. I think he was mesmerized. Still not convinced that Eva would have coped, but for your 6ish plus child it’s a winner I reckon.
So what did the sensitive girl and I get up to for those 100 minutes? Well, we started off with a stroll through a newish development called St Martin’s Courtyard, which had pretty flower bunting that Eva liked. We were on the hunt for coffee and cake, so were attracted to a large “Eat Cake” sign. Turns out they have a whole cake-based street food market here, which would be blissful if it wasn’t starting to rain. I could have coped with a slice of rainbow cake and game of ping pong.
We lingered just longer enough for Eva to strike a couple of poses with a giant E:
But then it started really chucking it down and so we made a dash for the Covent Garden Plaza, where we found a moomin wandering around outside the moomin shop, and then on to Patisserie Valerie. It’s not the cheapest place in the world to eat cake and drink coffee but it’s pretty reliable and I know from experience that they don’t chuck you out if your girl is taking an hour to nibble the pastry of her strawberry tart:
We still had time to kill after that but I can spend hours just wandering the streets around Seven Dials, looking at the shops, and Eva seems to like that too. We ducked into Tatty Devine and she squealed over “yuvyee” rainbow necklaces. She also really yiked this shop:
But then the rain turned apocalyptic and it was all we could do to dash back to the theatre and cower in the lobby, waiting for our assorted family members to come out. The staff were very kind. Another reason why you should make this one of your summer holiday trips out.
Stomp is running till January 2018 at the Ambassadors Theatre. For tickets and more information click here.