Billy Elliot The Musical has proven hugely popular with London audiences.
Set in Northern England under Margaret Thatcher, the story follows Billy Elliot – the son of a striking miner – who overcomes adversity to pursue a career in ballet.
Billy Elliot has so far won 70 awards worldwide and been seen by more than 4.5 million people across the globe. The show celebrated its fifth anniversary at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre on 31 March.
We asked a few people who saw Billy Elliot The Musical recently for their opinions.
Billy Elliot is my favourite musical – from the moment it starts it has a real emotional impact on me (tears and laughter). I like the way they have expanded on the miner’s content in the film and made it a uniquely British story – the personal combined with the historical.
The singing isn’t amazing and some of the Geordie accents are a bit dodgy, but the overall experience can’t be beaten, and that was my second viewing of it.
The dancing is always amazing.
I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was fun, moving and beautiful. It was great to see a piece of high street musical theatre deal with a topic like Thatcherism which is very much a part of contemporary British history and especially very relevant again now post-election.
It was highly entertaining and fun, the stage set was brilliantly simple and versatile. Very fun and engaging piece.
A long-time fan of the film, I didn’t think I was in for any major surprises as I headed to see the stage show of Billy Elliot. But it is a rare theatrical experience that can make you laugh and cry, fill you with the urge to get up and dance and provide you with a particularly timely political commentary along the way! Not to mention the astounding raw talent of the young Billy, whose love of dance can be seen infecting the entire cast as the show goes on.
Overall the show is very good. The storyline is very well structured and the characters are all well developed. I thought the set was also very good and it had some parts of great humour. Its great the way the show pairs ballet with the traditional aspects of a musical, whilst getting across a very strong message.
The only criticism is the amount of bad language used by all of the cast (including the children), I thought that was excessive and didn’t add anything. I certainly wouldn’t advise young children to go and see it, which is strange because the musical is about a young child.
As someone born in the 1980s, I’m always fascinated by portrayals of that time – so close yet so far removed from the Britain of today. I thought the show blended some interesting politics (smartly brought up-to-date by the second-half opening comic commentary on the current election) with a heartwarming story and some entertaining dance sequences. Here’s to another five years!