Pepperland – Theatre RoyalNewcastle

2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the release of the LP “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. The Mark Morris Dance Group premiered their tribute to this at Sgt. Pepper at 50 festival in Liverpool.

The vibrant costumes take you to the swinging sixties – bright colours, shift dresses, short skirts and not to appear dull next to the girls the men are dapper in colourful suits and turtlenecks.

It’s a tribute to the Fab Four but not how you would anticipate; composer Ethan Iverson has cleverly taken seven of the songs from the album and reinvented them. Ethan has also included some of his own compositions. The music is live and played by a wonderful orchestra including the theramin; often associated with eerie situations and used in the original sound track of Doctor Who.

The narrator who sounded uncannily like Ivor Cutler from the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour introduced the show and it kicked off with Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band swiftly moving onto Magna Carter where the dancers successfully impersonated the likes of Einstein and Marilyn Monroe which had the audience in fits of giggles.

When I’m Sixty Four started with the familiar tune and then all three counts were heard where the dancers; perfectly in sync lit up the stage with a witty, fast paced ensemble. This was particularly magical as my companion is celebrating his 64th birthday tomorrow.

From the outset the audience were enraptured. The music and dance constantly changing so you didn’t know what to expect next. Within You Without You was a dance performed by all of the dancers bringing the East to the West in a magical yet trippy way.

Although not on Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club; Penny Lane was a magical addition with its whimsical floaty way that calmed the nerves after some of the more upbeat music. 299

At only an hour long I was sad when it ended. I felt like I had been taken through a whistle stop tour of the album in a new, original way.

The addition of Ethans compositions was a testament to his extraordinary musical ability. the dancers were phenomenal, every step was perfect, the choreography inspired. If you fancy whiling away an hour of remodelled nostalgia get yourself a ticket.

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Disclosure: All Reviews have been provided by gifted opportunities or press access offered to us in return for an open and honest review. All reviews are subject to the opinion of the reviewer.

Reviewed by Mandy Charlton

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