Rambert have a huge following of dance fans and many of them gathered excitedly on opening night of the latest tour at the Lowry. Sadly, the audience are treated to a triple bill of increasingly diminishing returns - in terms of originality, quality and emotional engagement.
The first piece Hush is undoutebly the best as the company convey humour and athleticism and Christopher Bruce's choreography has so much variety that you avoid looking at your watch throughout. Filled with passion and the odd poignant moment, Hush celebrates life and does so brilliantly from start to finish.
Unfortunately, it's downhill fast from here on in, as RainForest is such a slow paced and emotionless piece that it wipes the excellence of the first dance from your memory. From Andy Warhol's pretentious set design to laughable costumes and Bruce's overdone movement, everything here is dull and lifeless. If this was your first experience of dance, it would soon become your last.
Inspired by the movie of the same name, Awakenings promises so much - but again manages to be a meandering and pointless piece. The narrative appears confused and without drive or ambition and the dancers begin to look bored as opposed to awakened. Although not as bad as RainForest, this piece still needs a great deal of work to rise to the standard of Hush.
The end result is an evening which starts well and ends up forcing doubters and fans alike to realise that sometimes dance can revert back to being pompous, lifeless dirge which is a real shame, considering Rambert's excellent track record.
Awakenings is nowhere near the excellence of Jasmin Vardimon, Bounce or Matthew Bourne.