Rambert: Note to Self – Festival Theatre

Choreography by Benoit Swan Pooffers

Dramaturge by Amy Baty

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Are our memories reliable, or are they only ever as reliable as the latest version we’ve told ourselves? In Rambert2’s latest work, Note to Self, we join protagonist Eve, portrayed by the mesmerising Karlina Grace-Paseda, on a voyage into her failing memory. A beautiful soul with eyes drowning in emotion, the ghosts of endless tales rising to the surface. 

The piece opens to the relaxing lull of the shipping forecast, accompanied by the comforting hum of a microwave. We find ourselves in Eve’s drab living room, strewn with post-it notes reminding her to do menial tasks and the constant din of a leak, drip-drip-dripping away into a metal bucket, juxtaposed with the rapidly increasing ticking of the clock.

Her one-sided, repetitive self-soothing technique and missing earring make her visually off-balance. We then pass into the surreal, entering her memories via the fringing on her red velvet lamp; the glowing haze and hypnotic, fluid movements of the characters of her past offer us warmth and excitement, yet a jarring sense of unease is perpetually present.

Something is always just a little too sharp. Someone is always watching. Traumatic memories flare-up in the mind from our point of view, captured beautifully here by the use of intense, lingering eye contact with the framing and cinematography, while the brighter times are viewed by Eve as if she’s watching from the side-lines, a spectator at the telling of her own story.

Perfectly pitched, Benoit Swan Pooffer’s choreography blends luscious and unbridled sensuality with a jagged and jarring unpredictability. The whole company constantly transition seamlessly from the physical to the surreal, leaving us to question if we truly know the difference.

The combination of David Curtis-Rings simple yet devastatingly effective sets and costumes constantly push us into danger, then effortlessly envelope us in our blankets, safe from the monster under our bed. The score arranged by Micka Luna is like that familiar tune that you instantly recognise yet can’t quite remember the name of or why you know it, creating that undercurrent of missing the crucial last piece of the puzzle.

A stirring finale sees Eve with a sense of rebalancing, an inner peace and an acceptance of the journey already taken, and the one that lies ahead. Note To Self is a sensitive, engaging and exemplary portrayal of the workings, and failings, of our minds. 

Review by FurScottie

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