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Mark Morris Dance Group - Pepperland (world premiere) - Liverpool

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This past weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles Sgt Pepper album.  In a real coup for the city, Mark Morris was commissioned to produce a work to be presented as part of the celebrations.


I thought I was going to miss this altogether but found out, literally at the last minute, that there was a matinee of Saturday and dashed into town to see it.


The music consists of 6 tracks from the album arranged by Ethan Iverson plus some original composition by him.  It was a bit of a shock at first but as I got into the piece I realised just what clever adaptations they were.


The set is very simple - a backcloth that changes colour and what looks like a GIANT piece of crumpled tin-foil that is highlighted by the lighting.  The costumes are 60's style AND VERY BRIGHT INDEED!!!!  It looked fab!


The choreography is fluid and, while not really enacting the words of the songs, fits the themes.  There is a marching motif, for example, for Sgt Pepper.  When I'm 64 was absolutely hilarious!!  It was like a deconstructed Tiller Girls line up and as the music got off kilter so did the line-up.  The dancers are just gorgeous, making everything look ridiculously easy - something marchy and grounded suddenly livened by some glorious (I think this is the right term) batterie.


The piece lasts just over an hour and was such huge fun to watch.


The critics described this piece with much more eloquence than I ever could:


Judith Mackrell, The Guardian

Mark Brown, The Telegraph

Luke Jennings, The Observer


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