Peaky Blinders makes stage debut in dance show


he Peaky Blinders are swapping flat caps for tap shoes in a new contemporary dance show based on the hit crime drama.

South London-based Rambert dance company are working with the show’s creator Steven Knight on the stage production which is set to have almost a month-long run in London later this year.

The BBC drama, with a cast including Anya Taylor-Joy, Tom Hardy and the late Helen McCrory, tells the story of the Shelby crime family in Birmingham in the years after the First World War and is inspired by a real-life street gang thought to have got their name from their habit of stitching razor blades into the peaks of their caps.

The stage show, called Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby, focuses on the leader of the gang, played on TV by Cillian Murphy, and his wife Grace who was played by Annabelle Wallis.

Knight said: “It’s a love story as well as the story of Thomas Shelby and his redemption and parts of it are in the First World War and the rest of it is Tommy’s story.


“It’s weird because I’ve obviously never written a dance piece before and obviously I’m working with Rambert who are the best and I just sort of sat down and started writing what I thought of as the fundamental story of Tommy Shelby beginning before the series begins so we find out more about him and it’s a different way of seeing the events that we’ve seen in a much more impressionistic way but I think they also give you a more profound view of who Tommy Shelby is.”

Cillian Murphy and Annabelle Wallis in Peaky Blinders

/ BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd/Tiger Aspect/Robert Viglasky

Rambert’s artistic director Benoit Swan Pouffer said the show, which is still being put together, would have a cast of at least 18 dancers joined on stage by musicians.

He said: “We all know who Thomas Shelby is but we don’t know why he is this way and that’s where we come in. We are going to find out who this man is from the inside out and I believe dance has the power to do that. It’s very different to words, we can bring up and bring out emotions which are very difficult to describe with words and that’s what the opportunity is.”

Knight said part of his inspiration came from watching clips of the show put to music on YouTube by fans but admitted some of his audience might struggle with the idea, adding: “This is dance for people who don’t usually watch dance and what I’ve written has been transformed into something startling by consummate dancers and choreographers.   If the concept Peaky Blinders dance seems strange, reserve judgement and reserve a ticket.”    

The show’s London premiere at the Troubadour Wembley Park on October 12 with a run planned to November 6.

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