#BrumHour was invited to the Pepperland Press Night by Birmingham Hippodrome.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Pepperland at Birmingham Hippodrome
Artistic Director: Mark Morris
Pepperland has arrived at Birmingham Hippodrome for two nights as part of its UK Tour. A sixty-minute dance piece originally performed to mark 50 years of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles 8th studio album.
Containing six tracks from the album itself as arranged for Pepperland by Ethan Iverson and five original pieces also by Ethan Iverson, with vocals by Clinton Curtis. The audience find themselves in late 1960s, introduced to the dancers on stage by way of naming who is on the front of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. It takes a moment to register what is happening as we are introduced to “Laurel and Hardy” and “Marilyn Monroe“
The stage is one giant wall of colour which varies in a Mark Rothko style between songs and a giant piece of reflective tinsil/seaweed which changes colour depending on the lighting.
The dancers are dressed in bright colours with baby doll dresses on some of the ladies, 1960s trousers and jackets for some of the boys. Sometimes when they are dancing together the colours of each costume are the opposite colours of each other, sometimes they compliment each other.
Each section is fairly self contained and there is no overall noticeable story and no dialogue. Overall the themes appear to be, the strength of community, individuality and love. There are movements that are reflections of each other, repetitions and complimentary. I’d have loved to see this album grown even further into an overarching story.
This is very much a show for lovers of The Beatles, and in particular those who love modern dance. There’s an edge to the work which helps it transfer to the huge stage of Birmingham Hippodrome and an intensity of listening to one vocal and a small amount of musical instruments compared to the usual massive productions that the Hippodrome plays host to.
Pepperland is at Birmingham Hippodrome until 27th March. Book tickets here:
The tour then heads off to Salford, Edinburgh, Canterbury, Cardiff, Plymouth, Southampton, Norwich, Newcastle and finally Dublin by 1st May.
This isn’t a sponsored post.
When not blogging theatre for #BrumHour, Dave Massey can be found eating crisps and claiming to be at the gym. And tweeting about Birmingham.