Review: Rambert struts and swaggers to Stones classics

The dance troupe Rambert takes to the dance floor of the sixties, writes Richard Lutz, and it’s all rock and roll.


…brings out the cocky nightcrawler in all of us…


I used to live in a farmhouse. And the boss of the courtyard was the rooster. He would strut around, bossing his chickens all over the place and if you were unlucky to cross him, he’d be at you with his talons and raw nerve..

The Stones, way back when, brought that strutting cocky energy to life with that Willie Dixon number Little Red Rooster and Rambert gives it an added kick up the you know what with its celebration of sixties Stones classics in its headline production called, inevitably, Rooster.

Lead dancer Miguel Altunaga is that King of the Farmyard as he slowly does the cock o’ the north strut to the opening number. He is all mid-sixties sharp dressed swagger and the Birmingham Rep stage might as well have been a packed-out adrenaline-laced smokey dance hall where those Stones songs brought out the night crawler in all of us.

The troupe fills the cavernous Rep stage with sliding gliding jumpy works to songs such as Lady Jane, Not Fade Away (actually a Buddy Holly number), Paint It Black, Play with Fire and Sympathy for the Devil. And keeping the farmyard in tune with the times, that arrogant Rooster walk is used and re-used to summon up those times.

Just a warning though; I Can’t Get No Satisfaction doesn’t get a look in. Shame about that.

Two other works feature on the bill. Frames is more disciplined, more mechanical. Rambert uses long poles to build shapes. The rigidity of the poles contrast with the fluidity of the dancers. And Transfigured Night, a world premiere with music from a taut Schoenberg composition, paints a portrait of lovers and their travails; it’s, moody, tense.

The three create a superb night of dance. And it’s all capped off by that self-obsessed cool rooster and his rock and roll strut.

Until 31st October. Tickets 0121 236 4455.

Pics: Tristram Kenton