Black Sabbath-The Ballet. Simply Incredible

In 1974, Jon Landeau famously stated “I saw rock and roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.” Well last night at the Birmingham Hippodrome I saw the future of ballet and it was soundtrack by Black Sabbath. To say it was an incredible experience would be n understatement.

Black Sabbath – The Ballet, ,
Birmingham Royal Ballet, 2023
Credit: Johan Persson/

Black Sabbath -The Ballet from the Birmingham Royal Ballet has been one of the most eagerly anticipated shows in years, and it does not disappoint. It is exhilarating -wonderfully choreographed, with those original heavy metal hits providing a brilliantly complete sound that is a surprisingly perfect match for each dance. The routines range from the frenetic bop that is Paranoid, to the more sensuous mood of Solitude and each are incredible, never forgetting the roots of the music, with superb guitarist Marc Heyward giving each scene an edge of the dangerous, raw rock that Black Sabbbath were famous for.

Black Sabbath – The Ballet, ,
Birmingham Royal Ballet, 2023 Credit: Johan Persson/

If act one was about the music, then act 2 was about the story of the band, with the story of the group  being told through archive interviews whist cleverly interspersed with dance of the newly formed band, wearing the late 1960s costumes of the factory workers that they were. It is thrilling and beautiful and works so well with the choice of songs including Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and the delicate, elegant Orchid.

Black Sabbath – The Ballet, ,
Birmingham Royal Ballet, 2023 Credit: Johan Persson/

The final act is The Fans, and what a finale it is. The dancers in the rock uniform of the t-shirt represent past and present fans, and the enduring legacy of that music, which seemed so otherworldly in 1970. I love the energy of this act, the return of the classic songs of the first act, and the backdrop of the upturned car, bringing back the idea of the Birmingham of Longbridge and Leyland. All the dancers are involved in this scene, giving it a real feel of a rock concert, with music, lights and lots of sweaty, excited fans. This atmosphere literally goes through the roof with the emergence of special guest star Tony Iommi playing, what else, the famous introduction of Paranoid. It was just an incredible moment- you felt like you were watching something very, very special, something unforgettable. A wow moment.

Black Sabbath – The Ballet, ,
Birmingham Royal Ballet, 2023 Credit: Johan Persson/

Black Sabbath – The Ballet

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