Rambert Dance in Peaky Blinders The Redemption of Thomas Shelby Review

Hull New Theatre – until 4th February 2023

Reviewed by Dawn Bennett


Atmospheric, menacing, hypnotic and beautifully danced, Rambert Dance stormed into Hull New Theatre in Peaky Blinders The Redemption of Thomas Shelby.

A Rambert production in association with Birmingham Hippodrome written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight CBE and choreographed and directed by Benoit Swan Pouffer was a stunning piece of theatre.

The show tells the story of Thomas Shelby (Guillaume Queau) and starts with the trenches in World War 1 and all the horror that goes with it, with the narrator Benjamin Zephaniah saying “you young men of the tunnelling brigade, you are all dead. Not counted among the dead because your bodies were not buried with dead, but dead inside…” This really sets the tone of the dance and explains a bit as to why the Peaky Blinders behaved like they did, violent and angry that they were not given what they thought they deserved after defending their country. And how that they would take what they wanted. The story then follows the lives and deaths in the Shelby family and how violence was a part of their lives.

The band made up of Yaron Engler, James Douglas and The Last Morrrell were magnificent, from the recognisable tones of the theme from the Peaky Blinders television show to thumping rock/metal tracks composed by Roman Gianarthur which really set the atmosphere.

The set (designed by Moi Tran) took us from the trenches, industrial factory, night club and the streets were on different levels setting the tone for each scene.

The lighting (designed by Natasha Chivers) made the scenes come alive and made them very atmospheric.

And the costumes … wow! Designed by Richard Gellar, the 3-piece suits with the razor blades glinting in the peaks of the caps, the gorgeous dresses and all the other costume really made the performance.

The fight scene, towards the end was so beautifully choregraphed by Adrian Derrick-Palmer it was difficult to know who to watch.

The whole show was amazing from beginning to end, you really do not have to have watched the Televison show to understand or enjoy this dance. I highly recommend watching and this was one of the best dance productions that I have seen. The cast very much deserved the standing ovation, miss it at your peril!