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Subject: "Rambert at SW" Archived thread - Read only
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Ann Williams

23-05-99, 04:27 PM (GMT)
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"Rambert at SW"
   The Rambert mixed bill at Sadlers Wells this week proved, for me at least, to be unexpectedly satisfying; the programme, apart from the Tharp 'Golden Section' did not look particularly appealing. So I was surprised to enjoy Rafael Bonachela's 'Three Gone Four Left Standing'. Bonachela has a sure theatrical grasp. He designed the simple black costumes and the surprisingly effecive lighting himself. Music was composed and performed by Nic Pendlebury, who played the violin (the only instrument involved) on stage throughout. Bonachela has a good grasp of movement dynamic; the piece opens with with the four dancers standing immobile in silence, then one grasps the arm of the next one, who then grasps the ankle of the next one, the piece building in blocks of movements to some inventive group lifts. The whole made for pleasant, undemanding viewing, but there were no real choreographic fireworks here.

Fireworks, though, were provided in plenty by Twyla Tharp's 'The Golden Section' to David Byrne's pounding rock score. Tharp, for me, never fails to deliver. If her choreography is less than classical, she makes up for it with enough energy, wit and invention to dazzle us. Santo Loqusato's designs for the slippery little golden costumes work well in the rich pattern of solos, duets, trios etc. provided by Tharp for the dancers, who dash on and off with exhiliarating speed. Dancers (male and female) are lifted and thrown ruthlessly. I loved the way one woman was lifted high only to reappear unexpectedly through her partner's legs (Tharp is so good at these magicianly tricks!). This is the stuff that dancers die for, yet Rambert , as well as they did it, lacked a certain sharpness and speed. More performances will obviousy help. Outstanding dancers were Matthew Hart , with his devilishy glamourous speedy spins (I remember him from his RB days when you couldn't take your eyes from him even when he was a mere peasant in 'Romeo & Juliet), Deirdre Chapman, for her obvious relishment of what she was dancing, and Christopher Powney (of whom more later).

Jeremy James' 'Gaps, Lapse and Relapse' to music by Peter Morris was a decently entertaining piece, though lord know what it was about. It resembled Rafeal Bonachela's earlier piece. Didy Veldman, in her checked sleevless blouse,stood out as a commanding
stage presence, but was scarcely challenged by the choreograhy.

As for Christopher Bruce's 'Rooster', I had seen it before and disliked it. It looked to me then like choroegraphy for a West End musical. But the current Rambert dancing of Rooster is utterly thrilling. Christopher Powney as the 'Rooster' was a revelation; all power, precision and speed.. His jumps not only had the requisite elevation, but looked sort of weighty, if that isn't a contradiction in terms. I just wondered why I hadn't noticed him before, particularly as he bears a passing resemblance to Kevin Bacon..... But I digress. All the dancers distinguished themselves, yet again I have to mention both Deirdre Chapman and Didy Veldman; you *notice* these women.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  Re: Rambert at SW Rachel Holland 23-05-99 1
     Re: Rambert at SW Stuart Sweeney 24-05-99 2

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Rachel Holland

23-05-99, 04:28 PM (GMT)
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1. "Re: Rambert at SW"
In response to message #0
   Matthew Hart danced the Rooster at the performance I saw, and was excellent here too (as well as being good in the Twyla Tharp). Otherwise, the casting appears to have been fairly similar. I enjoyed the performance I saw.

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Stuart Sweeney

24-05-99, 07:09 AM (GMT)
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2. "Re: Rambert at SW"
In response to message #1
   I agree with nearly all of the comments above having seen the same cast as Rachel Holland. Just a few additional thoughts. Matthew Hart was truly outstanding and Rambert have allowed him to develop into one of the leading dancers in the country. Indeed, the Rambert men generally are charismatic and strong in differing ways. The powerful Paul Liburd and Simon Cooper, the quick and accomplished Conor O'Brien, and the elegant Laurent Cavanna all impressed.

Didy Veldman certainly qualifies as 'break-dancer supreme' on the evidence of 'Gaps, Lapse and Relapse'. Elizabeth Old danced in her own lovely, distinctive way in '3 gone, 4 Left standing'. I don't think her poetry added much, but it didn't spoil this intriguing work, which remended me of Kylian.

'Rooster' is a delight, but it's interesting that not all the parts stay in the memory, whilst the sections written around 'Little Red Rooster', 'Paint It Black', 'Ruby Tuesday', 'Play with Fire' do stand out clearly.

There was an interesting coda in the form of hearing Christopher Bruce on 'Desert Island Discs'. He provided insights into his career and hopes for the future and took the opportunity to tell people just how impoverished the Arts are in the UK. Congrats (or good luck) to the Marketing Dept. at Rambert to synchronise this interview with the Sadler's Wells season.

Regarding 'Cruel Garden', the word from Rambert is that it will be Matthew Hart on Tuesday and Wednesday and Conor O'Brien on Thursday and Friday. I don't have any info. re. Saturday casting.

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