review rambert death trap

Review: Rambert Death Trap at Theatre Royal

Wednesday night calls for impeccable dancing and twisted humour. Rambert Death Trap has arrived at Theatre Royal!

Caroline Dask

Journalist at Luxe


Following the popular success of their previous visits to Newcastle Theatre Royal, Rambert Dance Company is back at Theatre Royal with Death Trap, a celebration of life and death through dance, devised by Ben Duke.

A newbie to the contemporary dance world, with my first treat of it being the São Paulo performance last month, this time, I had an inkling of what to expect and I was ready for it.

Rambert Death Trap focuses on the storytelling of characters with awe-inspiring performances by their diverse company of dancers, with live music to complement it. The performance has two parts, Cerberus and Goat.

Review: Rambert Death Trap – Cerberus

Enter a world where dance is a matter of life and death. The performance is an adaptation of the Greek tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, where Orpheus, a singer and dancer so powerful, that when he danced, everything moved with him, marries Eurydice.

On the day of their wedding, a viper bites Eurydice and she dies. Devastated by this, Orpheus heads to the underworld to bring his lover back to life. This storyline is the central theme of the first part of the performance, as the diverse and talented cast of dancers move through the stage ever so effortlessly.

review rambert death trap Cerberus

The narration of the performance helps navigate its depths, and those new to the contemporary dance world will appreciate it. The narration and dialogue are extremely engaging and funny. The comedic brilliance is peaking here and there, mixing with the mesmerising synchronicity of the brilliant cast.

On the search for his love interest in the underworld, the most important rule is to not look back. In this underworld, we see dancers entangled in ropes, almost representative of societal norms and constraints, or the ideas of what we define as ‘death’ and trying to break out of it, unsuccessfully.

The performance ends with the male lead looking back, and the stage goes pitch black and silent. This, to me, represents the celebration of everything in between ‘life’ and ‘death’ and how every life story has an ending. It’s dark, funny and twisted.

review rambert death trap Cerberus

Review: Rambert Death Trap – Goat

The second part of Rambert’s Death Trap is inspired by the spirit of Nina Simone. It features iconic songs such as ‘Feelings’, ‘Feeling Good’ and “Ain’t Got No, I Got Life’. From the first moments of it, there is a sense of lightness to it, compared to the first part of the performance.

The narration follows into this part of the performance too, however, here it’s in the form of a news reporter and her camerawoman, documenting a ritual in which the goat, in human form, is to be chosen by fate and danced to death.

review rambert death trap Goat

While the set and the stage do carry a lighter atmosphere in this part, the theme is quite dark, but it balances well with perfect comedic timing and the outrageously funny commentary from the news reporter.

With Nina Simone’s songs in the background and profound dancing, this part of the performance is a good representation of how not everything in life is black and white. There is no good without the bad, and there is no bad without the good.

The performance plays with the concept of fate, not necessarily in a negative light, maybe more so in a realistic one and how fate, again, is not just black and white. How sometimes, it’s quite unpredictable and turbulent.

review rambert death trap Goat

Who is Rambert Death Trap for?

The two performances are created by Ben Duke in collaboration with Rambert dancers – Adél Bálint, Angélique Blasco, Simone Damberg Würtz, Max Day, Conor Kerrigan, Joseph Kudra, Naya Lovell, Musa Motha, Aishwarya Raut, Antonello Sangirardi, Alex Soulliere, Dylan Tedaldi, Jonathan Wade, Archie White and Seren Williams. All of them are brilliant expressionists, able to make this form of dancing look so effortless and emotional.

Rambert’s Death Trap is perfect for those who appreciate the art of dance, those who enjoy dark and original humour and, finally, those, who are newbies, like me, to the world of contemporary dance.

Rambert: Death Trap plays Newcastle Theatre Royal on 25 April. Tickets are available here or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.