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“Mark morris' colourful beatles tribute”

Originally unveiled in 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Mark Morris’ Pepperland is a piquant blend of witty, jubilant choreography and experimental music, courtesy of jazz composer Ethan Iverson.

It’s both a tribute to and a deconstruction of the Fab Four’s famous concept album, its songs reimagined into a rich score replete with crashing dissonance, stately harpsichord passages and theremin warbles. The costumes alone are an endorphin-producing, Mod-inspired delight, a retro dream in polyester for any human magpie with a penchant for bright colours and peter-pan collars – magenta shift dresses, orange miniskirts, spiffy Carnaby Street suits and turtleneck tops in rainbow shades.

Excellently-clad, Morris’ dancers move easily through a mix of baroque posturing and 1960s social bopping – with gleeful snatches of the twist, mashed potato and hitch-hike sewn seamlessly into fleet balletic sequences. It’s lovely to see hints of Frederick Ashton in the plush inclinations of the upper body, expressive wrists and terre-a-terre footwork.

Music and movement come together superbly for the reinvention of When I’m Sixty-Four, the dancers forming a kicking, shimmying chorus line whose routine breaks into counterpoint sections in response to the competing lines of Iverson’s score. Elsewhere, there’s radiant simplicity and romance – a joyful lift of one man by another, or the concentric whirl of a duet for two female dancers that culminates in a statuesque frieze. Morris’ mastery of patterning is such that the stage is always alive, crackling with cleverness and finely-tuned kinetic energy.

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Production Details
Production namePepperland
VenueSadler's Wells
StartsMarch 20, 2019
EndsMarch 23, 2019
Running time1hr 15mins
ComposerThe Beatles, Ethan Iverson
ChoreographerMark Morris
Set designerJohan Henckens
Lighting designerNick Kolin
CastDomingo Estrada, Jr ., Karlie Budge, Lauren Grant, Lesley Garrison, Mica Bernas, Sam Black, Sarah Haarmann
ProducerDance Consortium, Mark Morris Dance Group
VerdictMark Morris creates a wonderfully colourful and clever tribute to the Beatles’ classic album
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Anna Winter

Anna Winter

Anna Winter

Anna Winter

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