Whenever I am asked what my favourite musicals are, Billy Elliot always makes the top 3. Thats why when I heard it was closing in London I had a tiny little breakdown, but I was overjoyed to hear that it would be heading to Birmingham on its UK tour.
Set in 1980’s North-East England amidst the strain of the coal miners strike, Billy Elliot tells the story of a young boy who stumbles across a passion for ballet. The story follows the highs and lows of a community and family at war with the government and at times each other, before uniting as one for Billy. It truly does warm the cockles of your heart whilst also comprising the biggest ‘lump in your throat’ forming moments of all musicals in my opinion. I am not a crier but this musical has me balling. Multiple times. Don’t forget your tissues ladies and gents. Having said that though, you’ll also laugh out loud. ‘Expressing yourself’ and ‘Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher’ get the audience laughing every time without fail. By the final bows, the entire audience is sprung out of their seats to give an impressive standing ovation – smiles, cheers and tears all round.
I am always a bit nervous when it comes to touring productions that they won’t be as good as their West-End predecessors. I worry that the cast might not be quite as good or mostly that the set won’t be as impressive, but that was not the case with this production. Everything about this tour lived up to and exceeded my expectations. The casting was near perfect, my only qualm being the 2 ballet girls who weren’t girls at all but small women – one of my theatre pet peeves. Adam Abbou gave a convincing and loveable portrayal of Billy and his best friend Michael, played by Samuel Torpey, was absolutely excellent. Martin Walsh (Billy’s Dad) and Scott Garnham (Billy’s Brother) played their roles with that hard-hitting, tear-jerking emotion that this show is famous for. Both gave stunning performances.
The score, composed by Sir Elton John is sensational and beautifully performed by this cast. Nothing ignites the goosebumps on my arms quite like a group of men singing in perfect harmony. ‘Stars look Down’ and ‘Once we Were Kings’ are my personal favourites. You just can’t beat the chorus numbers in this show.
If you want an emotional, funny and feel-good musical, this ones for you. To anyone thinking of bringing along their little darlings, do be warned that there is a generous serving of bad language throughout. Don’t let that stop you though as this show shouldn’t be missed. It’s currently in its final week in Birmingham before continuing on its journey around the UK. For more information, check the Billy Elliot UK Tour Website.
Have you seen this musical or are you planning a trip? Leave me a comment down below!
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