This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour was invited to preview Peaky Blinders: Rambert’s The Redemption of Thomas Shelby at Everyman by Birmingham Hippodrome and Rambert.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
TV Review: Peaky Blinders: Rambert’s The Redemption of Thomas Shelby on BBC Four and iPlayer
⭐⭐⭐⭐An intoxicating dance piece!
Choreography by Benoit Swan Pouffer and written by Steven Knight
Starting in the First World War, we see the impact of war on Tommy Shelby and how it is never far from his life in this dance production version of the huge Birmingham-set BBC show. From racehorses to carousels the culture of Birmingham is intoxicating to Tommy who sees the city as his playground ready to explore.
This stage version, created by Rambert, grew out of a fifteen-minute live street theatre event at a Digbeth Peaky Blinders Festival near central Birmingham. After collaborating with Steven Knight, choreographer Benoit Swan Pouffer took on a full show to bring the Peaky Blinders to the stage. It premiered at Birmingham Hippodrome in September 2023 and began touring with some well-deserved, great reviews.
The story might be challenging to pick out without the regular amount of dialogue from Steven Knight but the attitude and style of the 1920s is fully here. It’s an easy sidestep that avoids having the regular tv cast. Here they are represented by Rambert’s talented dancers, and in particular Guillaume Quéau who is immediately striking and powerful as Tommy.
We explore the ravages of war much more than in the tv show, here they loom in the shadows rather than some land far away. The Birmingham we see here is a lot cleaner and filled with rolled-up sleeves, coordinated factory clothes and well-placed grime marks on the dancer’s skin, whilst the women of the Shelby family are gun-ready rather than the housewives we are used to from stories of the 1920s in England.
Music wise the tracks are also intoxicating and absorbing combined with the dancing itself and propels the audience on a journey through the underbelly of the 1920s.
An intoxicating dance piece, Peaky Blinders: Rambert’s The Redemption of Thomas Shelby is on BBC iPlayer, watch here: bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001tvcp/peaky-blinders-ramberts-the-redemption-of-thomas-shelby. Find out more about Rambert here: rambert.org.uk. Discover more about Birmingham Hippodrome here: birminghamhippodrome.com.