Choreographer: Ashley Page, Christopher Bruce &Alexander Whitley
Reviewer: Fraser MacDonald
Rambert returns to Glasgow’s Theatre Royal to revive Christopher Bruce’s Rooster, bringing with it two new pieces. Delivered in three acts, with 20 minute intervals between, the production has some real highlights.
First up is Ashley Page’s Subterrain. The piece itself is billed as a non-narrative, which is very clear to the audience. Rather, Subterrain explored human relationships, which it does effectively. At times, there is simply too much going on onstage which is distracting from the otherwise delicate piece. Aphex Twin’s score is rather atonal in nature, which seems to be a difficulty with some of the dancers. At times, synchronicity is out by a margin too small to be deliberate but large enough to be noticeable. Laced with issues of sex, gender, relationships and some very random additions, the piece is overall not unenjoyable.
After the first 20 minute interval, the showstopper arrived; Christopher Bruce’s Rooster. From the first notes of The Rolling Stones’ “Little Red Rooster” the piece had the audience hooked. The contortions of principal dancer Miguel Altunaga are nothing short of astounding and the whole company are synchronised to the highest level. There is a certain lack of fluidity as one song ends and another begins which does detract from the overall impact but with each new song, the awkward pause is forgotten, taken over by what cannot be denied is some exceptional dance. In many ways, the piece is choreographed to mirror how one would dance to these timeless classics, such as “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Ruby Tuesday”, like no one was watching. The energy from the ensemble hits the audience like a wall and the hits are boomed from the speakers, crackling off the walls with as much punch as the dancers give the piece. At points, there are spontaneous shouts of ‘Yes!’ and even applause from the audience in appreciation of the performance, which in many ways says more for the piece than words can.
The evening finishes with Frames, choreographed by Alexander Whitley. Rather than simply beginning, the piece emerges from the stage in an intricate foreshadowing of the later stages of the piece. Although somewhat a slow burner, the visual spectacle of the piece quickly becomes evident. The fusion of props and dance in this piece is particularly effective. Again, synchronicity could be tighter and with the large tube frames, this is very easy for an audience to see. The passion of the piece is delivered effectively, with the movement in harmony with Daniel Bjarnason’s score. The length of the piece is questionable, with its impact peaking roughly ten minutes before the curtain fell. This said, it cannot be denied there is a character to the piece that few of its nature could achieve. It does well in dramatising its portrayal of manual labourers and the contrast of the harsh poles with the beaming lights is very effective, if a little high brow.
Although a mixed bag thematically, Rambert’s selection of dance entertains. Those with even a slight interest in the medium will certainly not be disappointed.
Runs until 7 March 2015