Peaky Blinders : The Redemption of Thomas Shelby

As a proud Brummie, the world of the Peaky Blinders has become something of folklore in our fair city thanks to its highly successful TV series that hit our screens in 2013 and has cemented Birmingham firmly on the map.  Fast forward to now and Rambert Dance in association with the Birmingham Hippodrome have created the most wonderful piece of theatre I have seen in a very long time.

The show, written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight MBE and choreographed/directed by Benoit Swan Pouffer is full of drama, angst, high energy routines, full on fight sequences and a fair bit of blood which of course is synonymous with the TV show.  Obviously, the performers are incredible, however for me the music made this production elevate itself into top tier entertainment.  There is a live band on stage and special mention must go to Yaron Engler, James Douglas and The Last Morrell for providing the soundtrack worthy of a Hollywood block buster.  Composer Roman Gianarthur really does capture the essence of the world of the Peaky Blinders. The music is recognisable if you watch the TV show with it’s mix of almost heavy rock, jazz and folk music.  We also hear the theme tune from the TV show ‘Red Right Hand’ on two occasions and noticeable was the use of the tubular bell which clanged each time ‘Red Right Hand’ was mentioned.

The cast are all extremely talented performers.  Their movement around the stage is mesmerising, dramatic, flawless and clean.  The Matriarch of the family, Polly played by Simone Damberg Wurtz shows an incredible strength in her performance and you can certainly tell that she is head of the family. Thomas Shelby played by Guillaume Queau oozes sex appeal throughout the show and handles the solo routines throughout Tommy’s breakdown which such class.  There are so many stand out performances that I can’t mention them all, however one performer who deserves high praise is Dylan Tedaldi.  Playing the Factory Foreman towards the start of the piece, he was scene grabbing and equally stood out in the ensemble pieces.

The show captures everything connected with the Peaky Blinders, the mood of the time, the industrial back drop, the trauma of war on the men, the highly stylised production and the mythical glamour.  It doesn’t hold back on the violence, but if you’re a fan of the TV show you will know exactly what to expect.

With set design by Moi Tran, lighting design by Natasha Chivers and costume design by Richard Gellar, the whole vibe is just right.  The staging is so clever, consisting of an elevated square space with a channel cut out around the edge where the performers fell into/came out of throughout the piece.  The fight scenes, under the direction of Adrian Derrick-Palmer were so cleverly constructed that you find yourself ducking and flinching with every punch or kick on stage.

This show is just over 2 hours in total, including the interval, however it left you wanting more and at no time does the pace slow down in its drama.  A truly spectacular piece of theatre that will excite and please audiences throughout the country.  Coming out of the show I overhead someone on the phone who simply said, “you have to come and see this it’s incredible”, words which I wholeheartedly agree with.  A hot ticket for anyone, not just Peaky Blinder fans!

This show was reviewed on the 28th September 2022 at the Birmingham Hippodrome where it runs until the 2nd October 2022.  Tickets available here:

Full tour details can be found here:

Written for West End Best Friend

Photo credit: Johan Persson

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