Peaky Blinders: The Redemption Of Thomas Shelby is a brand new dance show from Rambert, the world-renowned dance company that dates nearly as old as the Peaky Blinders themselves.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a full-scale dance production before – apart from one ballet as a kid – so I had no idea what to expect!
Rambert are known for their cutting edge dance styles and for mixing traditional dance with other artforms, especially music and design. You can completely see this ethos on stage; the set, costumes and music are just as much part of the performance as the music and they all come together to create something totally unique and compelling.
It opens in the trenches of World War One, with soldiers scrambling and jerking around the stage. We follow them home to Birmingham and meet more of the characters and locations you recognise along the way; from the thrill of the race track to the sleaze of the nightclub, with seamlessly choreographed fights and tender moments of vulnerability.
I would say you don’t need to have seen the TV show to enjoy the show, it doesn’t follow the timeline exactly and spans several seasons’ goings on. The story is sparsely narrated by Benjamin Zephaniah, who introduces the characters and gives us context, alongside audio clips and quotes from the series.
The music gives this production a real punch that I wasn’t expecting, with hits from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Radiohead; and of course the title track Red Right Hand by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. The impact the anachronistic soundtrack has in the TV show is doubled here, as the dancers contort themselves to heavy rock & roll guitar, performed by a live band raised above the dancers on the stage.
I thoroughly enjoyed Peaky Blinders: The Redemption Of Tommy Shelby. I think it’s a great production for dance lovers and complete novices alike. It’ll surprise you and delight you, with new and more outrageous songs, music and costumes at every turn.