"STOMP," Capitol Theatre, Tuesday, additional performances through Sunday, times vary (355-2787)

Forget playing Frisbee with trash can lids. They can be used as cymbals. In fact, the trash cans themselves can be drums.

That's what the cast of "Stomp" decided Tuesday night. They smacked around the lids and cans and made sweet, grooving rhythms when the performance kicked off its Salt Lake run.

But the trash cans and lids were only one small aspect of this percussion festival. Oil drums, dowel rods, wooden crates, kitchen sinks, plastic bags, plungers, paper cups and straws, dust pans and a wall of hub caps, plastic tubs, street signs, lead pipes and rubber tubing all became instruments in the cast members' hands.

Not surprisingly, the audience enjoyed every syncopated beat and gave whoops of approval during and after each segment.

In addition to the objects, the cast also used their bodies as percussion instruments and even threw in a few tap- (or should that be "Stomp-"?) dance moves to highlight the performances.

The energy was contagious. The audience sat poised for the rhythms to start. And there was plenty of audience participation as the performers led the house in a clap-a-long.

While "Stomp" is the essentially the same show it has been since it started coming to Utah in the '90s, something about this year's opening night that was different.

The old choreography was fresh. The sound was louder and the cast connected with the audience.

Humor is still a huge part of the sometimes-improvised segments. But during Tuesday's gig, the quirky newspaper shredding scene paid homage to "Phantom of the Opera." That segment alone made the show. It not only had the audience roaring with laughter, but broke the concentration of those on stage. It took a full two minutes for them to regain their composure and continue.

When it came time for the all-out rhythmic assault, the Capitol Theatre was filled with loud, foot-stomping, tribal beats that brought the audience to their feet in a standing ovation.

Tuesday night's version of "Stomp" was the most energetic and humorous Salt Lake has seen in the past six years. All the old routines seemed new and the new surprises only upped the ante. It may have been the young and hungry cast or it may have been the audience. Whatever it was, the show ran on all cylinders and was worth every penny of the price.


E-mail: scott@desnews.com