Life is a Dream

Production Photos

Life is a Dream. Edit Domoszlai, Miguel Altunaga and Rambert dancers. © Johan Persson
Life is a Dream. Rambert Dancers. © Johan Persson
Life is a Dream. Brenda Lee Grech, Hannah Rudd. © Johan Persson
Life is a Dream. Edit Domoszlai and Rambert dancers. © Johan Persson 2
Life is a Dream. Rambert Dancers. © Johan Persson
Life is a Dream. Liam Francis and Rambert Dancers. © Johan Persson
Life is a Dream. Edit Domoszlai, Miguel Altunaga and Rambert dancers. © Johan Persson
Life is a Dream. Liam Francis © Johan Persson
Life is a Dream. Hannah Rudd and Juan Gil. © Johan Persson

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23 May 2016

Creative Team


Witold Lutosławski


Kim Brandstrup


Quay Brothers


Holly Waddington

Lighting design

Jean Kalman

Sound design

Ian Dearden

Projection consultant

Jonathon Lyle


Willem Bruls


Luke Ahmet
Miguel Altunaga
Adel Balint
Joshua Barwick
Simone Damberg Würtz
Daniel Davidson
Edit Domoszlai
Liam Francis
Juan Gil
Brenda Lee Grech
Sharia Johnson
Nancy Nerantzi
Adam Park
Stephen Quildan
Hannah Rudd
Pierre Tappon
Jacob Wye

Life is a Dream

Rambert Dance Company
Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, 23 May 2018

Reviews Extracts

Life is a Dream is the first full-length narrative work created for Rambert in almost 40 years, and well worth the wait. Brandstrup situates his strikingly original dance-drama in a warehouse rehearsal room, where an exhausted director is falling asleep…. To music by Witold Lutoslawski, wonderfully realised by the Rambert Orchestra, the director is visited by Calderón’s characters. They step from behind pillars and materialise from shadows, moth-grey in the half-light. Brandstrup’s movement language is contemporary, but deeply informed by balletic geometry. Tensile and steely, evanescent as ghosts, the Rambert dancers leap and whirl through a prison cell that is also, surely, the chamber of every artist’s imagination….. the realm Brandstrup conjures is an enthralling one.

The Observer, Luke Jennings, May 2018

Life Is a Dream is far closer to poetry than drama. It is inspired by Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s 17th-century play of the same title, but Brandstrup buries any semblance of plot to give free rein to imagery, mood and symbolism. Brandstrup’s choreography looks understated, but rewards attention. It is always finely composed and the dancing itself is richly inflected. Flurries of action catch the surges, spikes and trails of Witold Lutoslawski’s restless score (played live – a real treat), and the sinewy spirals, tilts and feints make the dancers feel as evasive as the shadows they cast. Brandstrup also makes a virtue of restraint. Stillness and absence are as integral as action and presence, and he can make small gestures such as curling up, holding still or turning away feel large with implication.

The Guardian, Sanjoy Roy, May 2018

…an atmosphere that you can virtually drink. Brandstrup…. has here created a beguiling, vaguely nostalgic world that seems to exist just at the corner of one’s memories and perception, a flickering dreamscape with a dash of the silent movie about it. Deftly engineered projections allow strange images to flood the room without warning, and trees to rustle in the moonlight through the room’s windows, while sounds – at times, somewhere between waves breaking, electrical static and the soft crackle of a needle on vinyl – gently tease the ears.

The Daily Telegraph, Mark Monahan, May 2018

…strongly scored, beautifully designed, inventively choreographed, silkily danced…. Brandstrup’s hybrid balletic language exploits the fluency and versatility of the Rambert artists with inventive duets, rolling falls and dizzy, off-kilter spins…

Financial Times, Louise Levine, May 2018

In Life is a Dream Brandstrup has created a work that speaks to all of Rambert’s many qualities, and one which, in its complexity, will go on unveiling new layers of meaning on second, third and fourth viewing. It is visually dazzling, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally gripping.

Culture Whisper, Teresa Guerreiro, May 2018

Reality and fantasy remain unsettlingly, dangerously blurred — it’s a pertinent modern message to distil from a 17th-century play.

The Times, Siobhan Murphy, May 2018

Kim Brandstrup’s new evening-length work for Rambert is, in part, a meditation on the nature of creativity. At its heart is a theatre director who presides over a rehearsal of a play. In his fitful dreams, the performers and their roles intermingle until he no longer knows what is real and what he has imagined. Brandstrup’s movement language is balletically graceful and athletically powerful… The staging is gorgeous..., Jann Parry, May 2018