Let me introduce to you… Mark Morris’ Pepperland

Pepper land dress rehearsal and press night.

Images by Gareth Jones

Mark Morris’ ‘Pepperland’ is a bright and joyful dance celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ legendary ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. Here’s four fab things (get it?) to look out for when you see it.

The music

A quirky, live ensemble of sax, trombone, theremin, keyboard, and percussion along with a live singer play Ethan Iverson’s arrangements of Beatles songs and imaginative original compositions influenced by the Fab Four. From an easy, light piece showcasing the harpsichord to a down and dirty jazzy number this ensemble can switch the mood of the dance in an instant. Whilst you may find it a little difficult to clap along to ‘When I’m 64’ (you’ll know what we mean when you hear it!) you’ll easily be able to hum along to ‘Penny Lane’ if you feel so inclined.

The dancing

The dancers move seamlessly between the vignettes Mark Morris has choreographed, going from freeing leaps across the stage, to intimate duets, to 60s throwback moves. Humour, emotion and pure joy all feature in the individual pieces, with dancers presenting themselves as the cover stars of the album, an almost silent film like touching rendition of ‘A Day In The Life’, and a playful piece to ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’. Mark Morris doesn’t make you feel like you have to ‘get’ dance to enjoy his whimsical tribute.

The costumes

Bright is the first word that springs to mind when you see Elizabeth Kurtzman’s costumes. A conscious decision was made to stay away from the iconic marching band costumes and flower power hippie style costumes because ultimately this piece isn’t a re-enactment of the album. You will however see moddish 60s silhouettes, clashing psychedelic colours and patterns, suits and miniskirts and some beautiful checked coats…and quite a few pairs of sunglasses! The dancers really do look incredible in her creations!

The feeling

Beatles fan or dance fan ‘Pepperland’ is a wonderful and surprising show that will make you grin from ear to ear. We bet you’ll be humming the songs old a new for a few days after, or even trying out a few moves in your kitchen!

Pepperland is here Fri 29 & Sat 30 March, tickets available here.

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