- Title: Carnival
- Summary: Carnival is set to Camille Saint-Saens much loved Carnival of the Animals (1886). Originally choreographed for Second Stride in 1982, it was televised in 1983 for Channel 4, directed by Geoff Dunlop. In 2008 Rambert Dance Company remade the work using the full title of Carnival of the Animals.
- Work: remade for Rambert (2008)
- Choreographer: Siobhan Davies
- Music: Camille Saint-Saens
- Sound Score: Carnival of the Animals (1886)
- Designer: David Buckland
- Lighting Design: Peter Mumford
- Costume Designer: Antony McDonald
- Costume Maker: Sasha Keir, Pat McNamara
- Painter: Sue Robson
- Analysis: Carnival's revival in 2008 was reviewed by several critics, including those who had seen the earlier version:
‘...Recaptured from the past at Rambert’s request, it could be the most endearing dance that this veteran British choreographer has made. Backed by an enlargement of a Rousseau jungle scene, Davies’s abstract zoological study is a delight. It is also probably the best and least literal interpretation of Saint-Saëns’ enchanting music that exists. Elegant in white tailcoats, the eight dancers (including Angela Towler) slip gracefully between suggested incarnations as finned, feathered or four-legged creatures. Highlights are a blue-gloved school of fish, Kyril Burlov’s extended handstand in the Long Ears section and Alexander Whitley’s beautiful turn as a swan. It’s crowd-pleasing without condescension’ (Donald Hutera, The Times, May 22 2008).
‘Charm is the most elusive of qualities: it cannot be worked at; it comes as a gift. But it is a quality that Siobhan Davies ensnared back in 1982 when she created Carnival of the Animals for Second Stride. And it has been preserved in this current revival for Rambert, as has Davies' skill in choreographing characters who flicker between animal and human and who sustain a witty conversation with Saint-Saëns's score. Davies' eye for the image that defines each of the 14 sections is wonderfully acute, from the fastidious, scratchy walk of the rooster and hens, to the gliding elegance of the solitary swan. Pure genius is the lovelorn cuckoo who mimes a beating heart to the dying fall of its own musical call’ (Judith Mackrell, The Guardian, May 22 2008).
‘For Rambert, the find was a piece of vintage Siobhan Davies. Made in 1982, her Carnival of the Animals, set to Saint-Saëns, has all the spare, cool obliqueness of early British contemporary dance with an added touch of Johnny Morris. Against a richly lit reproduction of "Le Douanier" Rousseau's self-portrait with jungle animals, dancers in natty white tailoring respond to the music's imagery in the least obvious of ways. The Hens & Roosters squeak their sneakers against the floor in a fussy disco strut, a pair of can-can dancing Tortoises crouch under giant feathered fans, while the Cuckoo's clarinet call becomes the beating heart of an unrequited lover, a Buster Keaton in blazer and boater and sweet, lugubrious face. The pogo-jumping piano hammers clearly drew a blank for some of the audience. This was the composer's little in-joke, "Pianists" being zoological specimens in his view. Just as inspired, though superficially more conventional, is Davies' male solo Swan. Almost simultaneously we're made aware of not just the creature's elegant stretch and power, but also the eddying surfaces around it, even its bulky contact with the water. It's a small miracle of distilled and cross-connected imagery – the sort of thing lit-crit would have a long Greek word for. The ultimate highlight, though, both musically and visually, is the glistening Aquarium sequence, as the full complement of Rambert dancers don long, blue satin gloves for a Hollywoodesque display of synchronised swimming. Hats off to conductor Paul Hoskins for the glistening, glamorous veil of orchestral colour he drew from the London Musici in the pit. Pure magic, and worth the ticket in itself’ (Jenny Gilbert, The Independent, May 25 2008).
- Production Date Original: 1982