Rambert’s Peaky Blinders The Redemption of Thomas Shelby. Photo: Johan Persson
With a knockout soundtrack and a reputation to uphold, RAMBERT’s retelling of Thomas Shelby’s story is accentuated with stunningly subtle visuals and extraordinary performances.
Burning its own path in ballet, the RAMBERT experience is not one to be missed. With a knockout soundtrack and a reputation to uphold, the story of Thomas Shelby is accentuated with stunningly subtle visuals and extraordinary performances.
THE PEAKY BLINDERS BAFTA award-winning show has been streamlined by its creator, Steven Knight, to interweave its ambition, menace and energy in equal measure. The much-loved drama opens a new chapter for Tommy (Guillaume Quèau) following his empire at the end of World War I. Having made a name for himself alongside his family, Tommy discoverers the love of his life Grace (Naya Lovell) as the show quickly unveils the creeping consequences of his past and the rivals hidden within his ranks.
Presented as a crisp selection of highlighted moments and narrated by the poet/series street preacher Jeremiah (Benjamin Zephaniah), this adaptation compacts three seasons and refreshes its storytelling with freedom away from the TV show.
Picking up new characters and perceptions for the stage, RAMBERT’s reworking layers its strikingly immersive and post-war aesthetic on shaky terrains and volatile relationships. Despite shining a light on a small personal story, Benoit Swan Pouffer’s choreography expands Tommy’s tale with diverse group performances, loving duets and triumphant solos that illustrate Tommy’s expansively vibrant life. Alongside an emotive ensemble, the production melds into different genres of ballet and contemporary dance to include some unexpected surprises along the way, including the skilful synchronicity of Musa Motha’s performance.
RAMBERT’s minimalist set allows The Lowry audience to time travel back to 1919, where Shelby’s working-class roots move his flat cap from the margins to the mainstream as he expands his operations, biffs a few locals and roughs up a few members of the audience. Playing with Shelby’s turbulent relationships and the fallout from the war, the sweeping production offers a unique experience with unforgettable sound signatures. Including its classic Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Red Right Hand theme tune, and a new track written by Laura Mvula, the show’s musical performances play out onstage with a live band of musicians.
RAMBERT’s moving and bold production revolves around an addictive storyline of community and loyalty that follows Tommy’s hard-fought journey to become a revered and feared household name. Quèau’s strong presence needs few props to balance his fantastic performance, looming out of the shadows to tear up the Lowry stage for a second act of passionate medleys and triumphant solos.
The collaboration between Knight and Rambert’s Artistic Director, Pouffer, weaves a collage of atmospheric staging under the world of Thomas Shelby. The story brings stirring styles that allow his tale to flow freely to fans of the 2013 TV show, however, the brilliant performances are wrapped around an open concept that will allow newbies to jump in feet first. Combining poetry, rock and dance to the infamous mobster, Steven Knight’s latest Frankenstein creation is another terrifying hit.
RAMBERT DANCE IN PEAKY BLINDERS – THE REDEMPTION OF THOMAS SHELBY 2023 runs at The Lowry, Salford, until 18 March 2023.
Frances Scott is a graduate of the MA Contemporary Literature and Film course at Manchester Metropolitan University. As a content writer, she has worked with The Reviews Hub, Northern Soul and frequently posts theatre reviews on her website www.101Frances.com. You can also follow her on Instagram (101Frances) and Twitter (@FrancesScott1).