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Peaky Blinders Commonwealth closing show will be ‘sexy and dark but joyous’

Laura Mvula performs during filming for the Graham Norton Show (Matt Crossick/PA)
Laura Mvula performs during filming for the Graham Norton Show (Matt Crossick/PA)

Laura Mvula has said the dance element of her Peaky Blinders-inspired performance at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony in Birmingham will be “sexy and dark but joyous”.

The 2022 Games will come to an end on Monday night after 11 days of sporting action with a production celebrating the musical heritage of the West Midlands.

Mercury Prize-nominee Mvula, 36, will give a special performance of a newly commissioned track inspired by Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand, the TV series’ theme song, featuring a sequence from the much-anticipated theatre show Peaky Blinders: The Redemption Of Thomas Shelby.

She told the PA news agency: “Between the Peaky team and Rambert dance company, they asked me to compose a Peaky Blinders-inspired song drawing on Nick Cave’s theme.

“For me, that is right up my street as a project. All the elements are everything that I care about – Peaky, Nick Cave, doing my own thing.

“I’ve loved every minute of it and the dance element is just incredible. Those dancers are just super. It’s something special to watch. It’s so sexy and dark but joyous. Everything you want to see from a performance.

“I’m really excited. I can’t wait to see the final thing, because we have been working on it for so long. Now it’s finally going to get its big moment.”

The closing ceremony, at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, will also see performances from artists including UB40, Beverley Knight, Dexys Midnight Runners, Goldie, The Selecter and Jorja Smith.

Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby
The cast of Peaky Blinders: The Redemption Of Thomas Shelby (Jacob King/PA)

Speaking ahead of her performance, Mvula said the city felt “buzzy”.

She added: “I feel really chuffed for Birmingham because, generally, especially amongst other parts of the UK I have been to, Birmingham has tended to get a bad rep. It’s the second city. It’s not London. That’s all we know of it – and the accent.

“But what I love about Peaky Blinders, that I’ll be tributing in my performance tonight, is that they have made the Birmingham accent golden again.

“It’s something that I’m proud of and I embrace more. I love it now when people go, ‘Are you from Birmingham? I can hear it in your accent’, because it’s part of my heritage.”

Pioneering drum and bass DJ Goldie, real name Clifford Price, said the Games are “just what Birmingham needs at the moment”.

BUILD Series Event – London
Goldie (Ian West/PA)

He added: “Post-pandemic has been a nightmare for the whole country. Places like Birmingham, getting it on the map, especially with the Commonwealth.”

Goldie, who was raised in the West Midlands and spent his early career in Birmingham as a breakdancer and street artist, said he hoped the legacy of the Games will be “getting these kids off screens and getting them out in the field playing physically”.

He added: “Music and art are really important – and music art coupled with physicality, getting out there and showing these young people from whatever background that anything is possible.”

Zoe Snow and Gary Beestone, executive producers of the closing ceremony, said: “It’s an extraordinary feeling for us to have delivered two extremely exciting and very different ceremonies, with an incredible team to showcase Birmingham and the West Midlands to the world.

“Bringing together world class ceremonies creatives and fresh new and ground-breaking talent has been a joy. We hope we’ve done Brum proud and are grateful to every single person that joined us on this journey.”

The closing ceremony will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 8pm on Monday.