We take a look at what is being said about Birmingham Royal Ballet’s latest show featuring the music of the rock group.

(c)Johan Persson

The Guardian: *** “This show is utterly unique and absolutely worth seeing but throughout you can’t help but want more: more power, more volume, more theatre. That doesn’t have to mean bigger jumps and turns, it’s about harnessing the might of the music. When Iommi comes out, guitar raging, in a one-off special appearance for the finale, the place explodes. It is the energy we’ve all been waiting for.”

WhatsOnStage: **** “The work is hugely experimental and that has both its opportunities and challenges. In many ways, the piece is a jumble packed with so many ideas and influences it can be hard to identify what is happening at individual points and the significance to the music.”

Birmingham Live: **** “The final act focuses on the fans. Dancers appear in Black Sabbath T-shirts rolling around as free spirits to songs from Iron Man to Laguna Sunrise and more of Paranoid and War Pigs. Again, there’s no clear narrative, but visually inviting and so different from the norm.”

The Telegraph: **** “Anyone who thinks ballet precious or heavy metal dumb will be proved wrong by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s tribute to the heavy-metal pioneers.”

Louder Sound.com: **** “With input from Sabs themselves and “Metal Curator” Lisa Meyer, director Carlos Acosta ensures that the production feels like a loving ode to not only the story of Black Sabbath, but how their influence and legacy has spread out into the wider world, offering undoubtedly the most unique heavy metal experience you’ll find this year.”

Evening Standard: **** “The choreography is less individual: it could use a shot of adrenalin, some added thrash and stomp. Classical dancers devote their training to incredible expression within incredibly rigid constraints – they wiggle but rarely wig out. BRB’s thoroughbreds push through their comfort zone, and the show balances elegance with eager fan service – and mostly succeeds.”

Fairy Powered Productions: ***** “Birmingham Royal Ballet is world renowned for a reason and tonight’s performance showed why. The choreography was mostly modern with a smattering of more classical steps, giving something to please everyone. The “eternal kiss” (two dancers locked at the lips for an extended dance sequence) was just one highlight of a surprisingly romantic feeling work, in which the entire company brought unbounded passion and energy.”

The Stage: **** “This ballsy, full-blooded celebration of heavy metal and classical ballet by Sun Keting, Christopher Austin and Marko Nyberg hits epic adrenaline highs.”

West End Best Friend: **** “Lighting design by K.J. creates the perfect ambience of a rock concert with the elements of classical performance and intrigue, and whilst the costume design is simple, it works in tandem with the simplicity of the focus of the movement well.”

The Reviews Hub: **** 1/2 “It’s certainly a curate’s egg this one, but well worth breaking open to celebrate a band once derided by the London music rags as Swarfega-soaked slime-bag Brummie upstarts. Act 1 – The Heavy Metal Ballet, is a finessed, regimental riff on the War Pigs lyrics that were, with anecdotal folk-lore credibility, taken on board by US Army Marines caught up in the carnal chaos of the Vietnam War. Martial drums beat out the regimental structure as both the orchestra and recorded War Pigs signature riffs play off on each other, Tony Iommi acting as music consultant. Lighting designer, K.J, does structural manipulations of laser-beam frisson any stadium band would die for.”

Bachtrack.com: *** “An important side benefit of this remarkable juxtaposition of two of Birmingham’s greatest cultural institutions is a new audience demographic with many Sabbath fans experiencing ballet for the first time and, it seemed, enjoying it. Hopefully enough to come again although The Nutcracker might provide an interesting contrast!  Perhaps Ozzy Osbourne can be persuaded to play the mouse king!”

The show will visit the Theatre Royal Plymouth from the 12th to the 14th October, before a run at Sadler’s Wells from the 18th to the 21st October. To find out more visit: https://www.brb.org.uk/shows/black-sabbath


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