it fades, and we immediately return to the dark and fetid trenches of the First World War. Soldiers twitch and howl like corpses just strung on barbed wire as they fight a ghostly enemy. You can almost feel the chaos and anxiety when we are introduced to our old friends: Tommy Shelby, his brother Arthur and their comrades in the “Peaky Blinders“. In the agony of battle, they fight, maim and scalp to survive. When it comes time to go home, the narrator tells us that they are all outside of God’s judgment, because they are already dead in soul and spirit. Now they are “free to do whatever they want.”
Written by the creator of Pikki Stephen Knight with choreography and production by Benoit Swan Puffer, the world-famous company Rambert Dance rethinks the plight of Tommy and the Curtains, plays all the sex, violence and torment of the show in the maximum possible physical form. This is the most exciting and intoxicating way to get acquainted with Knight’s already timeless story.
In the first part, they return to Birmingham to make a fuss and start having fun, and the second deals with the eternal mental scars caused by war and a life full of battles — the search for peace amid chaos and life over death. What does Tommy need to do to find his way to the light?
Tommy Shelby’s Atonement, written by poet and “Sharp Peak” star Benjamin Sophonia, has some particularly impressive star turns. We have Guillaume Keo in the title role, Naya Lovell as his true love Grace, Simone Damberg Wurtz as Aunt Polly and the disabled Musa Mota as his army buddy and gang mate. You’ll never see a real Blinder pirouette for fear of being defeated, but this cast carries the true essence of the characters in all their gritty glory with a very touching and convincing grace.
Then there’s the music—and oh my God; it’s worth one ticket price. Hats off to the live band for making it so easy to present a fireworks-packed soundtrack featuring Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Radiohead, Anna Calvi and, of course, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds — adding a bit of real rock ‘n’ roll stormy 20s.
We won’t reveal too much of the plot, but you will be amazed by the scene in which hellish police dogs chase a cornered Tommy. In addition, there is an emotional carousel of racing — a real visual feast and the transformation of the stage into a brilliant nightclub in which you will reach for your gaiters and firecrackers. I must say that the second half is a little behind compared to all the raucous debauchery of the first. The last scenes of Tommy’s drug-related torment turn out to be a bit drawn out and confusing, but maybe that’s the point? You feel his pain.
The series may be finished and dusty, but it’s impossible to escape from it. There are Peaky clothing lines, alcohol brands and themed bars. We had a music festival, and a movie is coming up. You have until November 6 to see it at London’s Troubadour Wembley Park Theater (pretty enough, but it’s impossible to serve it during the intermission, which is not very peak), after which the show will embark on a full UK tour in 2023. Catch it while you can—by order of the Sharp Visors.