Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Billy Elliot

I realised the other day that my blog has a huge risk of starting to sound completely repetitive. And also, that I would make the worst critic in the world. My problem is that I just am too easily impressed. Recently I have been to quite a few West End musicals and I just can't stop marvelling at how much I enjoy them. Every single one has a slightly different charm, whatever the story, and I seem to like every single one of them.

Billy Elliot is my latest obsession and, honestly, I didn't think I was going to like it as much as I actually did. It was one of my favourite films when I was a kid but I really had no idea how they were going to transfer that well to the stage. I didn't know any of the music at all and was pretty amazed at the result. 

Billy Elliot is the most realistic musical that I have seen - all the rest have been set in a fictional place whereas this was placed up in a very grim northern village. Where obviously it was not very socially acceptable to be the incredible dancer that the title character is. It's not only the fictional boy that is intensely talented though. I was completely overwhelmed by the ability of the young actor as well. His singing voice did need a little more training but his northern accent and his acting were pretty spot on. And his dancing was just something else. In Billy Elliot there are a number of long solo dance sequences that include a mixture of modern, tap, stage and ballet as well as a huge amount of others with the rest of the company. He has to be proficient in all of these, and this young child was definitely more than that. He was truly superb from beginning to end and I have never been more depressed that I will never be to the same standard.

The rest of the cast must be congratulated as well - it was just perfection all the way through. It is not exactly what you would call a cheery story, considering the majority of it is about hardship but there were some really funny moments and the ending was just the right amount of poignancy to make this musical something truly special. I, for one, was blubbing like a baby in the final song, and I never cry in public. So that is an achievement in itself. The songs were fantastic and it was all brilliantly acted with believable emotions from everyone involved. Just perfection. Now go and vote for it to be on the shortlist for the Olivier Awards 2013.

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