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'STOMP'S' JOYFUL NOISE STILL ENGAGING.

Byline: - Evan Henerson

OK, SO THE anything-can-be-rhythm theatrical experience known as ``Stomp'' isn't exactly fresh out of its wrapping paper anymore. Still, what's not to like about a performance that gets an audience hooting and catcalling over the clatter of bristle brushes and trash-can lids?

``Stomp'' has been touring, uninterrupted, since 1995. Watching the version that's clanging up the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, en route to Pasadena next weekend, it's easy to understand its longevity.

First off, there's the novelty. Yes, there are people - younger audiences in particular - who have never seen ``Stomp'' and who figure to sit up just a little straighter and clap with a little more delight at the ``Stomp'' ensemble's use of - among other items - cigarette lighters, rustling newspapers, matchbooks and broom handles.

Original ensemble (and co-creator) Luke Cresswell may have hung up his sweeper ages ago, but the touring ``Stomps'' are filled with performers whose vibrancy and attitude shine through wonderfully. These 12 performers - guided in this tour by U.S. rehearsal director Fiona Wilkes - get it.

You can tell by the impish way they bounce off each other, and off the audience. They're having a blast, certainly, but there's also a hint of unpredictability - as though perhaps something plucked from that garbage bag might be put to a new, creative use.

The extended percussion sequence that has bungee-strapped performers vaulting between suspended pots, pans and road signs is a jangly showstopper. Ditto the martial-arts-like grace of the broom handle ballet (brushes removed).

The ``Stomp'' players make instruments of everything - including the kitchen sink. And how many performances can make that unusual claim?

STOMP - Three and one half stars

Where: Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks.

When: 8 tonight, 5 and 9 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday; also April 1-3 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

Tickets: $35.50 to $48.50. Call (213) 480-3232.

In a nutshell: Still wacky and delightful, especially for first-timers.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 25, 2005
Words:330
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