Review: Pepperland, Theatre Royal Norwich
Mark Morris’ superlative American dance troupe brings to life the music of the Beatles’ classic
album, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and they do it with style and passion.
A team of 18 dancers take you through the crazy, colourful world of Sgt Pepper, with their bright
costumes (very Carnaby Street) and tightly choreographed routines which have lots of clever
nods to the era and the superband.
The hour-long piece celebrates the album’s 50th birthday but don’t expect a tribute night! It isn’t
a nostalgic, whimsical piece as Morris commissioned a new score from Ethan Iverson, who
alternates new music and his own arrangements of seven songs, including When I’m Sixty-Four,
Penny Lane and With a Little Help From My Friends.
Baritone Clinton Curtis accompanies much, with a lone trombone creating new rhythms, and a
theremin giving a mystical, Indian feeling.
It mixes up lots of different dance styles from classical to music hall, and the music reflects this
diversity, too. Look out for the Mashed Potato and the Charleston.
This is a joyful homage to a ground-breaking album, taking the audience into a happy, kind of
quirky, place, which is very much what the Beatles wanted, too. You can’t help but think that
they would approve!
The show runs until tonight.