For those of you that haven’t seen Billy Elliot (I cannot believe that there are people that haven’t seen it but you never know), a brief synopsis: Set in the North East, Billy Elliot is the celebration of one young boy’s dream. The story is about the coming of age of a boy. He experiences a love for dance and wishes to embark on a career that is initially against his father’s wishes. Billy begins a journey through a world of picket lines and family difficulties.
The musical touches the hearts of the audience in many different ways and it is simply brilliant how it does this on so many different levels. I am sure that the Billy Elliot household typifies how many of the families that were involved in the strikes and disputes had to cope with the difficulties of a life changing situation. Mines closing, leading to villages and towns losing their identity and men losing their livelihood, with many of those families and communities still scarred today.
Hard for most of us to grasp, as we only saw the picket lines with the police versus miners conflict unfolding on the news. Perhaps the previous 3-day working week with power cuts was the main memory for most of us.
Rightly so, Billy Elliot The Musical reminds us as to what it was like in such a difficult and tragic time for those directly involved, but in a thoroughly entertaining and at times humorous way.
The choreography in the musical is just incredible, the dance scenes with the policemen, young ballet dancers and miners entwined on stage, reflecting how their lives were inter-connected at the time of the miner’s strike of 1984/5.
The scene with the police riot shields and batons is one of many that are simply brilliant!
There are many dance scenes in the musical that are superb, and rightly so Billy Elliot is at the centre of most. As the story unfolds Billy can be seen as a beacon of light shining on the darkness of the mining community. It is fair to say that Scott McKenzie shines brilliantly as Billy and his dancing and singing are outstanding!
Fantastic to see that at the end of a breathtaking dance scene, while Scott was receiving rapturous applause; he ‘stepped out of character’ to smile, and then back as Billy. Fantastic!
While it might seem difficult for the rest of the cast members to stand-out, as the musical focuses on Billy and his life, there were some super performances from all on the night.
In particular, as well as the brilliant Scott McKenzie (Billy), performances from the main characters were also super; with Genevieve Lemon (Mrs Wilkinson), Martin Marquez (Dad), Tom Lorcan (Tony), Lucinda Collins (Grandma), Chris McGlade (George) and of course Connor Lawson – who was fabulous (Michael) and Emily Williams (Debbie).
The bottom line is, if you haven’t already seen Billy Elliot The Musical then you really should as it is awesome, with outstanding choreography, excellent acting and wonderful songs such as ‘The Letter’ and Solidarity. If you have already seen it, then maybe go again and remind yourself what a truly great musical it is.
Written by Neil Cheesman @LondonTheatre1
Content updated 1st May 2014