After over ten successful years in the West End, the electric production of Billy Elliot has embarked on a UK tour, bringing the inspirational story of a young boy and his dream of becoming a ballet dancer to Manchester this Christmas.
Billy Elliot still remains to be one of the best musicals on stage, with it’s combination of powerfully tough miner’s fighting for their jobs, and a touching story about a boy who fights against what his father wants for him in order to pursue his dream. Through exemplary northern humour, there is a sensitive storyline which is emotionally moving. It is an uplifting musical that boasts exceptional talent.
Leading the cast is young Lewis Smallman, an astounding young actor that conveys the role convincingly. He is quick-witted with the humour and effortless with the emotion. However, it is his outstanding dancing that takes your breath away, as he leaps and foutettes seamlessly across the stage. He has a beautiful relationship with ballet teacher Mrs Wilkinson, played by Annette McLaughlin, who despite her harder exterior, has a soft spot for Billy and trains him up for his Royal Ballet audition.
At the heart of the production is the ever-growing relationship between Billy and his father (Martin Walsh.) Walsh approaches the role with a strong masculinity who is outraged to find out his son has been attending ballet instead of boxing. As Billy’s passion for dancing grows, alongside the support of his community, his father takes him along to the Royal Ballet audition. It is an incredibly touching moment when Billy’s father watches Billy dance for the first time, Walsh handles the development of his character remarkably, as he dissolves his harsh facade to reveal his devotion towards his son.
Lee Hall’s script challenges gender stereotypes excellently, whether it is foul-mouthed ballet dancers, or ballet dancing boys, it is a true expression of being who you want to be. This is portrayed through the character of Michael, played by Samuel Torpey, who oozes charisma and charm in his hilarious depiction of the role. His extravagant number Expressing Yourself is phenomenal, for such a small boy his stage presence is remarkable.
The score isn’t the most memorable West End soundtrack, however it compliments the narrative faultlessly. Elton John has created a mixture of heart-thumping ensemble numbers, with spine-tingling acapella, combined with simplistic heartfelt solos.
Billy Elliot is a heart-warming musical that will have you feeling every single emotion. The talent of the young boys is unbelievable and it is a show that is guaranteed to leave you speechless.
On at the Palace Theatre in Manchester this Christmas, Billy Elliot will run until the 28th of January and tickets can be found here.