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Friday, 30 July 2010

Billy Elliot the Musical

Billy Elliot the Musical has become a Worldwide phenomenon. Winner of 10 Tony Awards, including ‘Best Musical’, this show will not disappoint. The show is based on the smash hit film, it is adapted by Lee Hall with music by Elton John. It tells the poignant tale of a young boy with an unusual talent.

I have seen the show several times and come away amazed every time. The repetitively infectious music and perfect dance sequences are a pleasure to watch, and appeal to all ages. The thing that always surprises me most about Billy Elliot is the jaw-dropping talent displayed by the children in the production. Unlike most musicals, it is a show that relies heavily on one child – Billy, a part that has to be played by a boy with an unbroken voice (so usually not older than 13). At the moment all four London Billys are 12 years old, but there have been much younger boys playing the role. The boys train intensively for months at the 'Billy House', and during each performance there are always at least two of the Billys in costume ready to perform if anything should go wrong.

I saw the adorable Ollie Gardner as Billy. He was just as brilliant as expected, and danced and sang with exhilarating power and passion. Genevieve Lemon took on the role of Mrs Wilkinson, her knowledge and experience of theatre showed as she interacted naturally with the gaggle of girls that make up her ballet class. The rest of the cast were faultless. My favourite character is Billy’s best friend, Michael. Another challenging role for a child, this character must show wit as well as musical theatre talent. I recently saw Jake Pratt as Michael, he was so funny I felt like I wanted to be his friend. It is hard to imagine where these children will be in a few years time if these are the sort of performances they are giving as kids.

Billy Elliot appeals to all and is the musical I recommend to everyone if they want something fun to do in London. For those of you who perhaps haven’t seen many musicals this is a good place to start.

Book here.

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