So another trip to London beckoned, this time to see a cabaret on Sunday organised by Scott Garnham, and, as I was coming up anyway, a trip to see Billy Elliot.
I have so many shows that I want to see but I was keen to see Killian Donnelly in the role of Tony so Billy was booked. I knew bits about it and had heard quite a few songs along the way, but I was genuinely not expecting it to be quite so epic.
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised as all professional productions are excellent in terms of quality/effects/orchestra/set but I just dont think I expected it to be so entertaining. I knew it was about miners and a boy who wants to dance, but in truth it is so much more than that.
Every time the miners sang it was extremely tuneful, I loved all of their pieces and its always a pleasure to see plenty of men in the theatre. I know from amateur productions that finding enough (or indeed, any) men is a real task sadly.
The children were all immaculate too. Each one word, note and step perfect. And remarkably impressive with their comedy delivery and timing (particularly Debbie played by Millie Thornton). There was a lot of choreography across the whole cast but everyone appeared to know exactly what they should be doing.
Deka Walmsley played a very convincing Northern dad, who was (in the words of several cast members) ” a bastard” yet you could warm to him by the end of the show despite all his faults. I thought he was great. Mrs Wilkinson, played by Gillian Bevan was another character who you grew to be fond of and she did a valiant performance as the ballet mistress.
Steph Parry played Billy’s dead mam and she was a lovely character, both times the songs (which were meant to be letters being read aloud) between her and Billy reducing me to tears. Comedy relief therefore (although actually the show is remarkably funny) was provided by Mr Braithwaite (David Muscat) as the accompanist for the ballet students and wannabe dancer. Very amusing.
Killian Donnelly as Tony Elliot, Billy’s brother was as strong and every bit as convincing as I had hoped. He stands up and fights for what he believes in and is very passionate. Though as an elf it is a little hard to take him seriously! Grandma (Gillian Elisa) is another fabulous character and she’s a feisty one too! She was hysterical, I loved her!
Final mentions must go to Joe Massey as Michael and of course Harris Beattie as Billy. Massey was so lovable and so funny and gave such a confident performance as the slightly confused and comical best friend. And Beattie was outstanding. Everything about his performance was superb. His vocals were strong, his accent, his lines were delivered clearly and with the emotion they required and his dancing was exemplary. Look out for this lad, he will go far.
I laughed, I cried, I wanted to get up and join in. That has to be the sign of a great show, right? It was topped off nicely by meeting some of the cast afterwards as well, so thank you to those actors who stopped to chat and sign programmes.
If you’re debating whether or not to go, then don’t think about it anymore, just book. But be aware there is an imminent cast change so if you want to see some of those mentioned above you will need to go in the next couple of weeks.
Hope you enjoyed, got another one from tonights cabaret on the way later!