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Festivals Film Reviews Raindance Film Festival 2024

Review: Peaky Blinders: Rambert’s the Redemption of Thomas Shelby.

  • Release year: 2024
  • Director: Benoit Swan Pouffer.
  • Producers: Helen Shute, Steven Knight, Caryn Mandabach, Emma Cahusac and Fiona Morris.
  • Screenplay by: Steven Knight.
  • Choreography by: Benoit Swan Pouffer.
  • Music by: Roman GianArthur.

Synopsis: theatrical version of the first 4 seasons of the series Peaky Blinders (2013-2022).

Shotgun Commentary: an awe-inspiring feat of cinematography and choreography that will leave you wanting to see the live performance.

Still from Peaky Blinders: Rambert’s the Redemption of Thomas Shelby
(Benoit Swan Pouffer, 2024).

Review

Peaky Blinders: Rambert’s the Redemption of Thomas Shelby is a theatrical adaptation of the TV show Peaky Blinders. At least, of the beginning of it. It follows Tommy from the moment he comes back from the war and takes the business back from Polly, until he decides to continue with the business instead of taking his own life. While there are some differences between scripts (RIP Freddie Thorne), the main story is there and the staging of it is absolutely marvellous.

Less is more

There are no dialogues during the whole show, just soundtrack and the odd sentence taken from the series. To have only the original voices of the characters you know guide you through the narrative is a masterful choice. It brings the series closer to the musical, linking both products instead of hiding from this connection.

Furthermore, the lack of dialogues encourages you to feel instead of understand, to put your heart on the show and not so much your brain. Especially for people who have already watched the show and roughly know what is going to happen, it is an invitation to let go of the famous dialogues and focus on the feelings of the characters, their suffering and joy.

Again, less is more

Much like the series, the show has a little too much Grace in it. This wouldn’t be a problem if the pace didn’t suffer so much from it. Yes, her story is tragic and Thomas is devastated, we know that, but the opium trip already shows that. Another “reunion” song only prolongs what the audience already knows at the expense of a complete disruption of the show’s tempo.

Still from Peaky Blinders: Rambert’s the Redemption of Thomas Shelby
(Benoit Swan Pouffer, 2024).

Additionally, Tommy (Guillaume Quéau) and Grace (Naya Lovell) never seem to be in sync with their feelings. At the beginning, it makes sense due to Grace’s ulterior motives to approach Tommy. However, after the whole deal is discovered and Grace proves her love for Tommy, she still looks incredibly distant and cold, an attitude that is further enhanced by the fervent love that Tommy displays. It very much looks like a one-way love instead of this epic love story full of tension and passion.

It is relevant to note here that, while the acting is very off-balance in the couple, the dancing is not. Every movement is on point, and the blind dance is as gorgeous as it is stressful to watch. Truly a sight worth seeing. If only the expressions matched the movements for both of them and not just for Tommy, the end result would have been a lot more powerful. Luckily, this issue won’t be as big live, when their expressions cannot be so closely scrutinised.

Prowess at its best

The TV adaptation of this theatre production is fascinating. The way the cameras are choreographed with the dancers to show the best bits of the performance is a display of talent and precision that has resulted in a beautiful film. During the screening of this feature in Raindance, it was unavoidable to think about what you can’t see of it. After all, you are in the director’s hands instead of choosing what you watch by yourself, as you would in a regular theatre show. The upside of this is that you get to see the best bits of everything and, as it was said during the Q&A of the show, it ensures that you won’t miss any of the relevant information about the story.

Still from Peaky Blinders: Rambert’s the Redemption of Thomas Shelby
(Benoit Swan Pouffer, 2024).

Seeing the point of view and intentions of the director is key in a show where a lot is happening at once. Especially when everything is worth a moment of your attention. A feat accomplished thanks to the dances, which are a spectacle on their own, and the staging.

A whole new world

The special effects, especially in the opium den and during Tommy’s trip after smoking it, are so clever, stylish and impressive that they will leave you in a trance. The tones of the lights and the colour grading are the ones used for the show, so you know the inspiration for the production from the minute it begins. A similar connection is made through the music. The soundtrack follows the same Peaky style as the series. Rock music with a powerful beat and violins with a frenetic rhythm are the protagonists. It is a musical composition that will make you fall in love and then haunt your dreams forever.

All in all, the TV adaptation of Peaky Blinders: Rambert’s the Redemption of Thomas Shelby is an explosive show overflown with talent and creativity. It will make your jaw drop for about two hours with no respite.

Advice to take from this movie:

  • Acting is just as important as dancing in a musical.
  • It is possible for a human being to bend 45º without falling.
  • A musical with rock music is always a good idea.
Still from Peaky Blinders: Rambert’s the Redemption of Thomas Shelby
(Benoit Swan Pouffer, 2024).

What’s your take? Have you watched Peaky Blinders: Rambert’s the Redemption of Thomas Shelby? What do you think of this adaptation? Don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, or leave a message in my contact page! For more reviews and cinema-related articles, check out the rest of my blog! 😀

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