We have a treat for all you theatre lovers today with a review of Billy Elliot: The Musical from our Marketing Executive Lisa ...
I was given tickets for Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London for my birthday this year, and what a treat it was!
I’ve watched the film many times so was very aware of the politics and culture of Billy’s upbringing, both of which make the Billy Elliot story even more poignant. The story is based in north east of England during the bleak times of the coal miners' strikes in the 1980s. Privatisation by the new Conservative Government had a major impact on rural industries, particularly mining. Men were tough and generations of males were expected to follow their families down the coal pit. Billy Elliot had other ideas. After spying a ballet class after his boxing class, he slowly started to realise that he wanted to be a ballet dancer. However, he knew that this would be met with tough opposition from his father and elder brother, both striking coal miners. Billy defied the odds with determination and was accepted for a prestigious ballet school. His chosen career was finally accepted by his father and brother.
Seeing the story translated from film to stage was captivating and songs had to be created to turn the story into a musical, a major difference from the film. The costume and set design was brilliant and captured the era perfectly. I remember the strikes as a child as generations of my family were coal miners and the story is a brilliant representation of the hard times they experienced.
There are four boys who take turns to play Billy at different shows. Josh Baker, Ryan Collinson, Adam Vesperman and Kaine Ward - superb in the one we saw - and I have no doubt the the acting and dancing is sensational in every performance. How these young people can dance and act on stage in front of these packed audiences night after night is nothing short of brilliant. There were more laughs than I remember from the film but it was very much in keeping with the characters of the north east.
A definite recommend – and it’s right beside Victoria train and tube station!