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‘Stomp’ comes to Mumbai

You can watch the legendary West End play about working class ethos at a steep price

A scene from the play ‘Stomp’
A scene from the play ‘Stomp’

It is perhaps no stretch of the imagination that few Indians would have heard of the hit West End show Stomp, given how insulated we are from the very best in global live entertainment. That is slated to spectacularly change this week, as the production arrives in Mumbai, with a string of 14 shows—an unprecedented run for an international act.

The title conjures up images of a flurry of feet, boots and tap dancers, of manic energy and improvised percussion. Indeed, the act has been an irrepressible physical theatre sensation since its relatively humble fringe beginnings in 1991, when it literally stomped up a storm in Edinburgh, with a troupe of just seven paint-streaked performers in work overalls—who could be labourers, or mechanics or parkour enthusiasts—unleashing a torrent of movement and percussion using everyday objects like kitchen sinks, bins, shopping trolleys, oil drums, the works.

You could throw anything at them, and it would be appropriated into this industrial-strength makeshift orchestra of found objects; its explosive beats and rhythms setting up the functional universe of a garage or a warehouse, and making it come incorrigibly alive with dollops of humour and an unlikely musicality. The show’s creators were Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, who had been working the street comedy circuit for years with their band Pookiesnackenburger and the theatre group Cliff Hanger. The original production has played to capacity audiences worldwide, an unabated streak, and now, as many as five touring companies perform around the world at any one time.

Bringing the act down to India in its 25th year, is nothing short of a coup for AGP World, a group not particularly known for eclectic fare when it comes to homegrown entertainment. Yet in a remarkable display of ambition, this is the second high-calibre international gig that they have showcased in a span of just two months, after the well-received Hotel Paradiso, from the Berlin-based Familie Flöz, that did a three-city tour of India.

The other West End production that has recently had an extended run in India was Jeeves And Wooster In Perfect Nonsense, presented by the media company Blank Slate. And of course, Disney’s Indian edition of Beauty And The Beast was of undeniable international calibre.

The economics of theatre-watching in India is changing with the increasing purchasing power of Indians, and hopefully cultural tastes and sensibilities, so resolutely undiscerning, will change, too, with an exposure to productions of a certain pedigree. It must be said that ticket prices for the show, steep by Indian standards, should keep out a large proportion of the local populace, which is a shame because Stomp is mass entertainment with a strong working-class ethos.

Stomp will be on show at 3pm/ 7.30pm/8pm, till 18 December, at Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai. Tickets, from Rs500-4,500, available at the venue and on

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