Then we see the protagonist, Eve. She takes her tea mug to the microwave, clearly having forgotten she’d already put a mug in there. She watches the clock repeatedly. Rearranges a bucket to gather a leak from the ceiling. All this with a dreamy smile on her face, as she obsessively rubs finger and thumb over a single earring.
And then you realise with a pang that Eve is going through the first stages of dementia, when simple gestures become rituals, and memories become ever more fleeting and unreliable. As the realisation hits, the camera takes us and Eve into her inner world, and what follows are Eve’s memories – jumbled, sometimes happy, often painful, both realistic and surreal, sharp and diffuse.
A hazy ballroom is peopled by figures from different times, dancing to a song by the 1960s French chanteur Adamo.
Rambert2 in Benoit Swan Poufer's Note to Self. Photo: Camilla Greenberg
Is she remembering her youth? Or reimagining it?
Later the images become jagged. Pulsating strobe lighting reveals disquieting fragments of frenzied bodies. Dark, nightmarish scenes bring out ever more confusing characters. One man shakes another violently; a masked crimson-clad creature emerges to hug Eve.
The deeply moving finale sees Eve find a measure of peace, surrounded by a sea of fresh faces, cleansing water cascading over them as a gospel choir promises ‘soon it will be done, trouble of the world.’
Rambert2 in Benoit Swan Pouffer's Note to Self. Photo: Camilla Greenberg
Note to Self, created by Rambert’s artistic director Benoit Swan Pouffer for the junior company, Rambert2, is dance theatre of the highest order, perfectly judged for the small screen. We're unlikely to see a more intense, sensitive and delicate portrayal of the onset of dementia any time soon.
It helps, of course, that it has as its anchor Karlina Grace-Paṣeda, a charismatic actress of tremendous expressiveness, whose every measured gesture, every smile, every dreamy look speaks volumes and goes straight to the heart.
The 11 dancers of the 2021 cohort of Rambert2 are exceptional, as befits the crème de la crème of more than 600 young dance graduates from all over the world who applied to join Rambert’s junior company. Their strong technique combines with acting ability convincingly to portray the vagaries of Eve’s mind.
An atmospheric score arranged by Micka Luna, sets and costumes by David Curtis-Ring, and Bani Mendy’s impeccable cinematography all contribute to make this livestream – performed through various spaces of Rambert’s Southbank building as we watch – a remarkable achievement.
You must book through the website of Rambert's partner theatre, the Roundhouse, which will send you a link and access code.
Note to Self is recommended for ages 12+
|What||Review: Note to Self, Rambert live-stream|
|Where||Online | MAP|
16 Sep 21 – 18 Sep 21, 15:00 on 16 Sept, 20:00 on 17 and 18 Sept, Dur.: 55 mins
|Price||£10-£20 (+booking fee)|
|Website||Click here to book|