Peeking into Rambert Rooms

Peeking into Rambert Rooms

I love walking past houses at dusk when the lights have just gone on and the curtains have not yet been drawn, looking in from outside. The scene always looks inviting, cosy and peaceful. During the past year with our lives spent ‘locked’ in our homes these glimpses have been one of the few real connections with others.

So, when Rambert Rooms was performed live online I assumed from the title that I was in for some covert peeps through windows and behind closed doors. What followed however was far more extraordinary, challenging my cosy imaginings.

Over the period of an hour different interiors flowed across the screen each framing a tableau of people’s lives. Open windows and interconnecting doors held the work together visually whilst familiar ordinary people and a pageant of bizarre characters told their stories. Different styles of dance and a variety music as well as a medley of European languages added a further layer of richness. The work was a scrapbook of references from the rituals of birth and death to classical and contemporary music, to paintings and film from the prosaic to the weird and peculiarly odd; from calm dreamlike states to the anxiety of nightmares.

I want to say that it was surreal and funny (which it was) but it also came worryingly close to the truth and the reality of many during this past year of lockdown. Scenes of domestic violence, suicide, and murder were lightened by moments of tenderness, love and humour even though the laughter felt increasingly uneasy.

What made this piece so wonderful to watch however was the sheer physicality and tactility of the dancers, the fleshiness and earthiness of their bodies and the sensuality of the choreography. This was a glorious and moving reminder for us to celebrate life, ‘warts and all’.

By Anna Mortimer

Photo by Marcus Loke on Unsplash