Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby

Peaky Blinders cast

The flat caps were out in force as Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre prepared itself for a very special visit from the infamous Peaky Blinders.

But instead of smouldering on screen, Thomas Shelby and co’s backdrop was very different. Billed as a prequel, instead of an interpretation of the TV show, it’s all about the dance and some fine steps to boot.

During its tour of the UK, it has received some criticism for not living up to the Shelby hype, so it was interesting to see the audience reaction to the first night and it’s safe to say, there were no complaints here in Scotland.

In fact the upstanding applause which went on for several minutes, showed just how well received the show by the Rambert dance company in association with Birmingham Hippodrome, was, with the audience wise enough to treat it with an open mind.

It was loud, it was brash, and it had everything from flashing lights to pyrotechnics. And it was simply just fab!

Peaky Blinders scene

Dubbed “The Redemption of Thomas Shelby’’, the production begins with the Shelby brothers’ return from fighting in the First World War and dovetails into a love story between Shelby and the woman with the gun, Grace.

Rambert’s artistic director, Benoit Swan Pouffer and Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight have combined exquisite dancing with drink infused aggression, chain smoking and fist fighting to bring a modern twist to the 1920s based drama.

With strong performances from Guillaume Quéau and Naya Lovell as main characters Tommy and Grace, the show opens in the battlefield and the booming words of poet and series regular, Benjamin Zephaniah:

“You young men of the tunnelling brigade, you are all dead. Not counted among the dead bodies, because your bodies were not buried with the dead. But dead inside.”

And before we know it, we are back in the depressing factories of the Black Country, where toiling work has continued as the war went on.

Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby

A live band belts out well worked music from composer Roman Gianarthur, with the all too familiar Peaky theme song of Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds interweaved, and the audience is soon immersed in the dark story of Tommy falling for nightclub singer Grace and running alongside the Shelby daily business of terror.

Faithful characters Polly (Simone Damberg Würtz), Arthur (Conor Kerrigan) and Ada (Adéle Bálint) are joined by a powerful ensemble of dancers, some incredible costumes, shimmering girls in gold beads and police dogs in brown leather come to mind and a thoroughly modern and dark set.

As Arthur would say; “This place is under new management – by Order of The Peaky Blinders!’’

Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby runs at Capital Theatre’s Festival Theatre in Edinburgh until Saturday, 4th March 2023. Ticket availability and price can be found via

Author Bio:

Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.

Photographs by Johan Persson courtesy of The Rambert Dance Company

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