Rambert : Death Trap - Review

 Rambert are one of the most exciting, innovative, and daring dance companies around. Proud to be one of the most diverse of dance companies around, Rambert push the boundaries for what it means to be a dance group whilst entertaining the world with shows like nothing you have seen before. One thing I love about Rambert is how accessible their shows are. Not only are they like no other dance show you have seen before, they also push at the boundaries of what it means to be a dance show to leave the audience on the edge of their seats, and new viewers to dance falling in love with the medium. Each show I have seen by Rambert has honestly stayed with me forever.

Death Trap is no different. A uniquely dark yet hilarious look at life, death, and everything in between. Death Trap takes you on an emotional rollercoaster as you are plunged into a show that leaves your heart racing from the intensity of the live band, your eyes watering from chuckling so much, and feeling like you have been moved from the true raw emotions of what is being portrayed on stage. 

Split into two halves, you are introduced to two sets of characters across two completely different stories. Created by Ben Duke, each piece is cleverly theatrical and musical telling an exceptional set of stories based on death, life, and the absurd. 

Cerberus is loosely based upon the mythological story of Orpheus and Eurydice. A tragic love story where Orpheus ventures into the underworld to bring back his love. However in this retelling, Eurydice is a young dancer about to perform and Orpheus is her stage hand. The piece opens with the voice of a young woman telling us how nervous she is about beginning her piece, and how stage right is her birth whilst stage left is her death. As dancers venture across the stage, you soon see that music is what takes them to their untimely journey into the underworld. 

With crashing drums and a beat that mimics a heart beat, I could feel my heart racing in the audience as dancers frantically move across stage in both unison and in panic. I loved how the theatre woven into the piece allowed it to move in such a seamless way, but also allowed the audience an insight into the mind of our young rescuer. With brilliant comical touches amongst the tension, you couldn't help but feel hypnotised by the movements on stage throughout. Dressed completely in black, the piece felt reflective of a funeral at times and almost felt like people going through the grief process whilst the intrepid soloist attempted to save his dancer. A truly stunning and dramatic piece. 

Goat felt like a complete juxtaposition to the first piece we watched. As the curtain raised for the second act you weren't too sure if the piece had started, or if you were watching a show come to life. With a video camera on stage and a tv screen linked to it, this allowed the camera man to break the fourth wall and engage with the audience in a way that I had never seen before in a dance show. With dancers piecing together a set behind, you are introduced to our host for the evening, who not only puts everyone's minds at ease, but also poked fun at the absurdity of the first dance. Throughout the piece, the host is interviewing dancers, pretending he is broadcasting live, making the piece a mix of uncomfortable and fascinating at the same time. 

Goat then leads on to show the audience that this is about sacrifice. Inspired by the music and spirit of Nina Simone, a live band (and gorgeous singer!) takes you on a journey of a group making a sacrifice for the future. The movements and synchronicity on stage were almost hypnotic and you truly were thrown into a world that seemed both morbid yet curious. With a beautiful musical arrangement happening, this piece felt like a somewhat celebration compared to the dramatic grief of the first piece. I won't give too much of the piece away, but the duet towards the end was absolutely stunning and had me running it through my head the whole way home. 

Each dancer within the Rambert company worked with such elegance, poise, and professionalism to create a show that was utterly breathtaking and absurd. I honestly loved it from curtain up until final bows and a group like Rambert is the perfect example of what accessible theatre truly is. With a brilliantly diverse cast, I was truly taken away by this brilliant show. Thank you Rambert for creating something wonderful, I can't wait to see what is created next. 

Death Trap runs at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton until 07/03/24 and then continues on a UK tour. It's worth mentioning that most venues are hosting a BSL/audio described performance. 

For more info and to book tickets, please visit the links below:



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