Stage Review of Rooster & Other Works

About Rambert
Last night at the theatre was a little out of the ordinary and an enlightening introduction to Rambert. National dance company Rambert, is a registered UK charity, which provides dancers from all over the world with unique opportunities to develop their choreographic talents. Rambert also allows members of the public access to dance education work, classes and rehearsals; behind the scene events, and performances of dance, music and design showcasing in community spaces, as well as venue held stage performances.

Rooster & Other Works tour
The Rooster show is currently on tour and three out of six contemporary dance works will be performed at each venue. The evening performance of yesterday, under review, consisted of two world premieres namely Alexander Whitley’s Frames and Kim Brandstrup’s Transfigured Night, plus, of course, a performance of Christopher Bruce’s Rooster.

A scene from Frames ©Tristram Kenton
A scene from Frames ©Tristram Kenton

South African, Dane Hurst, an award winning dancer, appears first and places small light boxes around the edge of the stage floor and then performs lithesome solo interaction with a length of aluminium strip, he is soon joined by eleven others who carry with them their own metal sets and they continue for half an hour to perform complex sequences connecting and building up a multitude of different geometric frame shapes in new spaces, and then repeatedly stripping them down again to smaller pieced components. The dancing is highly technical; the bodily moves rigidly contort and are sometimes robotic. The body shapes formed are often angular and the visual is mirroring the frame structures and their positioning at any one time. This is an absolute work of art, but, like any visual art being exhibited, it is open to interpretation and is down to individual appreciation/non-appreciation of it. No disputing this is quite special and memorable because of its uniqueness. The music is live and performed by the Rambert Orchestra who play a new score from Icelandic composer, Daníel Bjarnason which is wonderfully atmospheric and crescendos to a wall of sound at the end created by strings and electronic reverberations.

Transfigured Night
This breathtaking performance is ensemble work that is so well crafted and the story telling is so beautifully expressed within the contemporary dance format. Two pairs of lovers meet at moonlight. The same events unfurl from different perspectives (first/third pair Cuban born, Miguel Altunaga and Danish born Simone Damberg Wurtz/Second pair English dancer, Hannah Rudd and features Dane Hurst once again). The first sequence is the most captivating, and I was entranced by Wurtz particularly, as I was reminded of a repetitive dream (you will know it), where you have an urgent need to reach someone, and you are working so, so, hard to get there but are being constantly held back and it is so exhausting on the emotions. This piece achieves that same tug on the heart strings. Set to live performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night.

A scene from Rooster ©Tristram Kenton
A scene from Rooster ©Tristram Kenton

As with the previous performances this is another energetic, predominantly ballet performance, but has a sassy, hot property element as you’d like it to be, and provides a fun, light-hearted finale to the evening. There is much more than a hint of the Rock’n’Roll and lots of lean back stretching and strutting moves, just like a Rooster!


Theatre critic, Debra Hall attended press night of Rooster & Other Works at The Birmingham Repertory Theate on Wednesday 28 October.

Repeat publication of this theatre review at Remotegoat Stage



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