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Rambert: McGregor / Motin / Shechter review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘an unbalanced triple bill’

Rambert’s new artistic director Benoit Swan Pouffer has made a bold but dubious statement of intent with his initial programme, bringing in French commercial choreographer Marion Motin to create her first work for a contemporary company.

Rouge begins with loud licks from a barefoot electric guitarist dressed in a drab kimono and a large pretentious hat, surrounded by lashings of dry ice. Six dancers emerge looking like they’ve raided the racks at Sue Ryder: feather boa here, puffer jacket there, a Pat Butcher-style fur coat. There’s a lot of posturing and chucking of clothes around before the dancing gets going. Irony, unfortunately, isn’t in attendance.

Eventually, the dancers start jacking and jerking to a pounding beat, torqueing their torsos into fashionably concave shapes as strips of red neon light slide by. There’s a certain inescapable pleasure in this, but it feels superficial, like the choreographer is trying to sell you something rather than tell you something: a trade show for pants and beautiful bodies.

The other works on the bill are early pieces from two now-established names in contemporary dance. Wayne McGregor’s PreSentient, from 2002, displays all the boneless physicality that we now expect from the master of the crotch-ripping leg extension. The dancers do diligently edgy work, but the music – Steve Reich’s Triple Quartet – is an orgy of joyless double-stopping, dense to the point of stressful.

Meanwhile, Hofesh Shechter’s In Your Rooms movingly – and exhilaratingly – conveys unspeakable dread and existential burden with a welcome dash of humour.

Verdict
Unbalanced triple bill features a disappointingly flimsy new work from Marion Motin

Production Information

Production
Rambert: McGregor / Motin / Shechter
Venue
Sadler's Wells
City
London
Starts
May 14, 2019
Ends
May 18, 2019
Press night
May 14, 2019
Composer
Micka Luna, Steve Reich, Hofesh Shechter
Choreographer
Marion Motin, Wayne McGregor, Hofesh Shechter
Lighting
Lucy Carter (PreSentient), Judith Leray (Rouge), Lee Curran (In Your Rooms)
Costume
Ursula Bombshell (PreSentient), Yann Seabra (Rouge), Elizabeth Barker (In Your Rooms)
Stage manager
Amy Steadman
Cast includes
Daniel Davidson, Juan Gil, Guillaume Queau, Hannah Rudd, Kym Sojourna, Jacob Wye
Producer
Rambert
Running time
2hrs 20mins