This gangster clan kicks butt in Peaky Blinders – The Redemption of Thomas Shelby ballet

The Rambert Ballet have brought the gritty world of Peaky Blinders to the stage

The Rambert Ballet have brought the gritty world of Peaky Blinders to the stage (Pictures: Johan Persson)

Peaky Blinders is not just a TV show, it’s a full-on cultural phenomenon.

If you need proof of that, here, off the back of immersive theatre shows, fashion shoots, soundtracks and movie rumours, is a dance version celebrating the explosive story of Tommy Shelby and his gangster clan.

And it really kicks ass. There’s a genuine excitement about seeing Rambert’s athletic dancers tip their caps to Peaky style and turn much-loved characters into barnstorming performers, shifting from electric fight sequences to moments of dramatic intimacy without missing a beat.

This is not a straight re-telling of the Peaky story – with six series to cover, that’s nigh on impossible – but what Peaky creator Steven Knight and Rambert director Benoit Swan Pouffer have put together is an impressionistic collage that threads key Peaky imagery around Tommy Shelby’s ill-fated romance with love of his life Grace.

There are moments when the narrative gets a little lost along the way and, as if to compensate, in booms an exposition-heavy voiceover, delivered with fulsome gravitas by Peaky alumnus Benjamin Zephaniah.

However, that’s one of the few clunky elements in a production that feeds the needs of hardcore Peaky fans while still working as a standalone experience for Peaky virgins.

Guillaume Queau is a striking Tommy

This take on the hit BBC show is atmospheric

Musa Motha as one-legged Barney has been described as a scene stealer

Grace (Naya Lovell) and Guillaume Queau

Cillian Murphy in the BBC hit that has spawned a flurry of fashion designs and drama spin-offs (Picture: BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd./Robert Viglasky)

Powered along by an exemplary live soundtrack by Roman GianArthur that seamlessly blends Peaky faves with impressive originals – Say What You Will is an instant classic – the show is at its strongest when it evokes the mood and menace of Peaky rather than trying to tell a story.

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Feverish dream sequence Poppy Euphoria, the gang lost in opium fever, is a woozy highlight.

Blessed with powerful performances, with Guillaume Queau a striking Tommy and the remarkable Musa Motha a one-legged whirling dervish as scene-stealimg Barney, this is a bold and ballsy piece of dance theatre. Tommy Shelby is alive and kicking.

Rambert Dance: Peaky Blinders – The Redemption Of Thomas Shelby, Birmingham Hippodrome and on nationwide tour.

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Source:: Metro


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