Rambert Peaky Blinders The Redemption of Thomas Shelby

Ballet Rambert’s Peaky Blinders: the Redemption of Thomas Shelby is male swagger, jaw-dropping, edge of your seat dance as pyrotechnics with all the cool of the TV gangster drama set in the 20s which with its stylised moves was always crying out to be remade as dance.

Arms whirling like windmills, blocky leaps, ducking and lunging. Sure to be a sell-out

Director, Benoit Swan Pouffer’s choreography is stunning, possibly exhausting but mind-blowing. This has violence, death, sentimental shlock, everything you could want from a West End musical, only this has the added skill of incredible ballet dancers. And not a pointe shoe to be seen. The music, partly on-stage, partly recorded is mainly Roman GianArthur, with Radiohead and much other similar Alt Indie plus the familiar TV theme Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. A warning though. It is loud.

Steven Knight, the writer of the TV show has created the story-line of this ballet which echoes the TV but adds different elements too, cleverly starting with a First World War battle scene which explains how emotionally and psychologically damaged the men are: ‘Dead inside.’ Benjamin Zephaniah, the rasta preacher from the series, is present as narrator, a gravelly recorded voice-over. The main characters are instantly recognizable: Arthur (Conor Kerrigan) with hunched shoulders, Polly (Simone Damberg Würtz) with one hand on hip, the other hand posing with cigarette (though her matriarchal power is not fully explored) and of course, Thomas Shelby (Guillaume Quéau) who could not reproduce Cillian Murphy’s dead eyes but achieves a striking presence with moments of stillness, brooding melancholy and a credible break down. Naya Lovell as Thomas’ love interest, Grace, is not an Irish lassie singing traditional songs, but a black jazz singer with cool slinkiness in shiny green dress. A new character, performed by Musa Motha is a star of the show executing difficult moves as he whirls on one leg and a crutch in various transformations. And look out for Adél Bálint who plays Ada, especially in the last Act line-up giving it her all in pink dress and cheeky facial expressions.

It is amazing (maybe shameful!?) how enjoyable watching fight scenes can be. A whole ensemble of arms whirling like windmills, blocky leaps, ducking and lunging. Then later there are contrasts with female factory workers who perform complicated arm movements in the steel works (suggested by a vast chain hanging down and the clang of metal on metal) and night club scenes, girls in gold glitter even trans (the same dancer, Dylan Tedaldi, who plays the bulky foreman, padded out - quite an achievement of varied roles). But the pounding bass and mayhem of gang war breaks out again and threatens to pall until luckily there is a change of mood - gypsy dances, a wedding and a shock ending just before the curtain comes down on Act One.

The second act is thankfully quieter and moodier as Thomas Shelby descends into opium dreams to dull the pain of grief. His two duets with males, featuring complicated lifts are beautifully choreographed, a welcome contrast to ensemble mayhem. However, there are longeurs. Worse, throughout the show, the raised level of the onstage stage with dancers performing behind it, prevented those in the stalls seeing the dancers’ feet.The set designer, Moi Tran, really should have avoided that.

Such a shame as this show has everything going for it otherwise. It’s still a fabulous, hugely entertaining night out, sure to be a sell-out wherever it tours.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Stephanie Green

Festival Theatre

On Before Carlos Acosta

★★★★
Festival Theatre

Cinders!

★★★★
Festival Theatre

Mathew Bourne's Romeo + Juliet

★★★★
Festival Theatre

Ballet Black: Pioneers

★★★★
Edinburgh Playhouse

The Nutcracker

★★★★
Edinburgh Playhouse

Giselle

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Written and adapted for the stage by Peaky Blinders’ creator Steven Knight, Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby is a new dance theatre show directed and choreographed by Rambert’s Artistic Director Benoit Swan Pouffer. The production features the full permanent Rambert dance company on stage, and a live band playing specially commissioned music and iconic Peaky tracks.

Most Popular See More

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets