It was an inspired idea by Birmingham Royal Ballet Director Carlos Acosta to celebrate the legacy of Black Sabbath, one of Birmingham’s greatest exports, with a ballet. The result was a spectacular fusion of ballet and heavy metal which saw Sadlers Wells sold out at every performance.

Interestingly, each act has a different choreographer, with Danish Pontus Lindberg known for contemporary dance as well as ballet, taking overall responsibility for all three acts.

The setting of Act I is Birmingham Royal Ballet 2023. 16 dancers dressed in black focus on the enigmatic appeal of metal music. The orchestral reinterpretation of Black Sabbath classics War Pigs, Iron Man, Solitude and Paranoid is incredible alongside the beautifully emotive dance moves - themes of war and the monotony of factory work.

Islington Gazette: Dancers interpret life in the 1970sDancers interpret life in the 1970s (Image: Johan Persson)

Act II focuses on the band Black Sabbath itself, providing a fresh insight into the achievements of its members with voiceovers. Tony Iommi’s story is particularly poignant - beginning his working life as a welder he suffered the trauma of losing his fingers at the age of 17 and was told he wouldn’t be able to play guitar again. He made plastic fingertips and retuned his guitar in a different way, which has become the iconic Black Sabbath sound.

There is comedy too with voiceovers - stories of rock star life and how at one point their cocaine bill was higher than their record deal.

Act III pays homage to the fans and the Black Sabbath legacy. The set features a gleaming silver wrecked 1970s car, topped by a giant chrome demon clasping drumsticks. Laguna Sunrise is played alongside Black Sabbath and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.

Islington Gazette: A couple dance with lips joinedA couple dance with lips joined (Image: Johan Persson)

The dancing is sensational throughout, with moves we are not used to seeing. Pas de deux where the couples cling and climb on each other’s bodies and a tour de force where the pair dance with lips joined. Another features couples crossing the stage, with the woman pulled along like a plank, completely still, at a 45 degree angle.

Islington Gazette: Act III pays homage to the fansAct III pays homage to the fans (Image: Johan Persson)

In the wonderful finale the energetic and oh-so athletic young cast visibly enjoyed what can only be described as a fun, choreographed disco. As did the audience with a standing ovation.