Billy Elliot is performing at the Edinburgh Playhouse until the 22nd October as part of it’s UK tour.
After eleven successful years on the West End, one of the best-known stories, that of Billy Elliot, is embarking on a tour across the UK. Beloved by many, whether seen as a film, on the stage or both, it will be a delight to all cities it visits and will enchant a whole new generation.
Set in a small Northern mining town during the mining strikes of 1984/85 under Margaret Thatcher’s parliament, it follows the story of Billy on his journey from boxing to ballet. Covering sensitive topics where so many people’s lives were affected is always a risky choice – either it will work or it won’t. In the case of Billy Elliot a musical has been created that will allow anyone involved or affected to empathise and recognize situations.
With the iconic music of Elton John the passion and anger of the mining communities are perfectly captured throughout the musical. A variety of songs from moving to motivational there was a song for everyone, similarly the range of characters meant there was always someone an audience member could fall in love with. Particularly my favourite was Michael, Billy’s friend, who indulged in cross-dressing and whose sass filled the stage and then some.
The company was incredible, well polished
and tight, an achievement with the large number of children on stage. All of the children were highly professional and extremely talented – Billy himself, on the night, was fantastic. His dancing was spectacular whilst his acting was splendid and he commanded the stage with ease. Annette McLaughlin was superb as Mrs Wilkinson providing a mother figure for Billy and inducting him into the world of ballet. Andrea Miller excelled as the Grandma providing much-needed comic relief with her humorous belligerent character putting everyone in their place.
Billy Elliot is a fantastic example of a great British musical in which every member of the family will find something to enjoy. It is one of the rare examples of an adaptation from film to stage that is perhaps better than the original film. One for all the family it is a great feel-good musical with a background in a very relevant piece of modern British history.