RAMBERT: ROOMS | STAGE REVIEW
Livestreamed from Rambert Home Studio, Sat 10 Apr
Dance theatre has never been so exciting, and impactful. With a cast of 16 actors, Rooms is created by Norwegian writer, choreographer and director Jo Strømgren. Featuring extremely slick timing and dancing, the company uses three rooms over the course of the 60-minute livestream. A world premiere for the Theatre Royal, Bath, with the livestream accessible worldwide and presented in conjunction with various theatres across the UK including Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre, Rooms’ title refers to the snapshots of people’s everyday lives that the audiences spies – taking ‘behind the curtains’ literally.
The short glimpses of action which emerge from behind closed doors are comedic, disturbing and melodramatic. The rooms, and what they contain, flit from comic to surreal to disturbing. One particular scene that stands out depicts a couple having an affair – which quickly transitions to a robotic and technology-inspired movement piece.
Rooms could be analysed for days, by no means a show where the plot is spoon-fed to the audience. Actors speak in many different languages, from German to Chinese; in one scene a woman crawls out of a wardrobe, in another a gorilla costume comes to life. It’s like the love child of 100 people’s weirdest dreams.
But that’s what makes Rooms so entertaining: it’s a 60-minute punch of randomness and beautiful dance that will entice the audience until the final minutes of the show. The actors also perform live music and sing, combining many different elements of theatre. With nudity, sex, a reference to suicide, and a short but horrifying scene of domestic violence, it’s definitely unsuitable for children; more generally, it’s an acquired taste and you have to be prepared for anything.
Yet combining scenes such as the aforementioned with wacky, inexplicable sequences is where the production really shines. The livestream format is utilised smartly, and it’s clear how dedicated the actors and contributors of Rooms are. If you love the insane as well as the mundane, this is the show for you.
words SARAH BOWDIDGE