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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke

REVIEW: PEAKY BLINDERS - THE REDEMPTION OF THOMAS SHELBY @ THEATRE ROYAL PLYMOUTH

🎭 Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby

📍 The Lyric, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2TR

🗓 Tuesday 28th March 2023

⭐️⭐️

VISUALLY PLEASING BUT AN OVERALL DISAPPOINTMENT


Last night I was back at Theatre Royal Plymouth where I was invited to review Rambert Dance presenting Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby. Rambert have long been one of my favourite dance companies, having seen many of their productions over the years, and so I was really looking forward to the performance. Unfortunately though, I left the theatre bitterly disappointed.


It's important to say that this is just my personal opinion and all aspects of theatre are subjective. I feel that this is especially true of a dance production. It is also true that we can't all love the same things, because that would make for a very boring world indeed!


I really struggled throughout this production to connect with the characters and to follow the story completely. Maybe it was a barrier that I have never seen the television show, although I have never before experienced a disconnect when I don't know the programme or movie on which a production is based.

I felt that each scene was far too long and that the piece would benefit massively from being trimmed down. The production ran for 2 hours 15 minutes (approx) with an interval and I felt that the story could have easily been told within an hour and a half. I have seen many powerful one-act shows and couldn't help but feel that this production would have been much better presented in this way.


There were moments to where it all just felt too surreal and almost a bit silly. I have a basic understanding of the premise of the show and some scenes, such as the one set in a mortuary, just seemed a little far-fetched to me.


Throughout the second act there felt like there was maybe five or six natural endings so I kept thinking the performance was finishing when it wasn't! I feel bad saying this but I didn't really like the choreography and I actually became bored, which is never a good sign.


The dancers however were extremely talented and worked very hard. Guillaume Quéau as Tommy played out grief extremely well and you could really feel his inner turmoil.


What I really did like about the production is that it was technically stunning. The standout star of the show for me was the phenomenal lighting design by Natasha Chivers which was breathtaking. It was a piece of art in itself and created exactly the right atmosphere throughout.

Moi Tran's set was also wonderful. Raised up with a trench around it, it was essentially quite simple but so clever at the same time.


The costumes by Richard Gellar were great too and just what I was expecting. He had great attention to detail and had stayed very true to the television series.


It's such a shame that I had such a disconnect with this production, but as I said, not every piece of theatre is for everyone and this definitely wasn't for me.


I would however say that I was in the minority as everyone else in the audience seemed to love it and gave a standing ovation. If you're a fan of Peaky Blinders then maybe having that background information means that you'll love this production,


As always, I urge you to make your own mind up! Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby continues performances at Theatre Royal Plymouth until Saturday 1st April, with the best availability on Thursday 30th March. Head to www.theatreroyal.com to book tickets.


Neill Kovacic-Clarke


All views are my own and I pride myself on being open, honest and free from influence.


My tickets for this performance were gifted by Theatre Royal Plymouth who invited me to the Press Night to review the production. The fact that my tickets were gifted played no part in my star rating for this review.


CAST AT THIS PERFORMANCE:

Guillaume Quéau as Tommy; Conor Kerrigan as Arthur; Musa Motha as Barney; Joseph Kudra as John; Alex Soulliere as Jeremiah; Naya Lovell as Grace; Simone Damberg Würtz as Polly / Inspector; Adél Bálint as Ada; Aishwarya Raut as Widow Changretta; Antonello Sangirardi as Changretta; Max Day as Follies; Dylan Tedaldi as Factory Foreman

Ensemble: Catí Carpenter; Tristan Carter; Seren Williams; Cali Hollister; Jonathan Wade; Archie White; Angélique Blasco


RUN TIME (approx):

2 hours 15 minutes, including interval


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

Some bad language; Loud gunshots; Criminal activity; Depictions of war; Violence; Representations of blood and murder

The mission of Theatre Royal Plymouth is to develop and deepen people's engagement with pioneering creativity in Plymouth and the South West, delivering experiences that spark delight, expression and fulfilment. The venue is the principle home of the performing arts in the South West and is the country's largest and most attended regional producing theatre.

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