Point of View

August 25, 2010, 8:32 pm
Filed under: At the Center

What do vacuum cleaners, saws, hair driers, traffic cones, a choir of 30 and a band called Pookiesnackenburger have in common?  They’re all part of an awe-inspiring new show called PANDEMONIUM, which is due to hit the Adrienne Arsht Center stage on September 16 for two weeks. The creators and geniuses behind this symphony of music, mayhem and epic spectacle are Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, best known as the co-creators of the internationally renowned show, Stomp.  Where Stomp reinvented rhythm and percussion, PANDEMONIUM transforms everyday objects into a universe of music with an orchestra of instruments created from everyday objects.

Commissioned by the UK’s Brighton Festival, the show was composed for the festival’s 40th anniversary.  With a crew made up of Stomp veterans and instrument designer Paul Marshall, Cresswell and McNicholas began by forcing their professionally trained UK musicians to abandon their cellos, trumpets and clarinets to learn to play vacuum cleaners and hair driers.  After breaking box office records at the Sydney Opera House and playing extended runs at both London’s Royal Festival Hall and Amsterdam’s Carre Theatre, the show kicks off its US tour at the Ziff Ballet Opera House.

Cresswell is a self-taught percussionist from Brighton. McNicholas is a dancer, choreographer, and actor from Yorkshire. The pair first worked together in 1981 as members of the English street band Pookiesnackenburger along with the theater group Cliff Hanger. Together, these entities produced a series of street comedy musicals at the Edinburgh Arts Festival and after two albums, a UK TV series and extensive touring throughout Europe. Pookiesnackenburger produced the well-known commercial “Bins” for Heineken that became the basis for the dustbin dance in Stomp. Cresswell and McNicholas continued to collaborate and grow together: creating short movies and putting on large-scale outdoor shows and currently a documentary about sharks. 

Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the first Stomp production; it has been running in New York for 16 years and in London for 8.  Stomp has toured the globe nearly continuously for 15 years and has reached more than 15 million viewers in 48 countries on 5 continents. It is the winner of numerous awards including an Olivier Award for Best Choreography (London’s equivalent of a Tony Award); an Obie Award; and a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatre Experience.

Now with PANDEMOMIUM, the revolutionary duo has done it again, managing to turn chaos into infectious music!


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