‘Billy Elliot’ is based on the film of the same title. It is the story of a young boy living in a despondent town in Newcastle. Set during the mining strike in 1984, the production follows Billy Elliot, the youngest of his poor family who are still mourning over his mother’s death. Billy realises he has a natural talent for ballet. Whilst Billy’s father and brother are using violence for the mining strike, Billy begins to study the art of ballet with the help from a local dance teacher. With the world and lives around him continue to languish; his only escape to it all may be the distinguished Royal Ballet School. Eventually he follows his dream.
Billy’s conversion into a dancer valuable of the Royal Ballet School and his father’s eventual realisation of his son’s talents are shown in his immaculate audition for the Royal Ballet School in London. His dad had never seen him dance in which when he did dance it blew his mind.
The part of Billy Elliot is unique in the history of musical theatre and requires a range of talents that include ballet, tap, singing, acting, dialect and gymnastics. The casting, as well, is a major success. On this show, Billy was played by Tade Biesinger who did a top-notch performance along with Trent Kowalik who was Michael (Billy’s friend) and Emily Skinner who was Mrs. Wilkinson, Billy's brassy dance teacher, played tough who’s soft inside; she’s a hard-drinking chain smoker who can't believe what she's discovered. The actor that most stood out in the whole play was Daniel Jenkins who played Billy’s Dad; he did a sharp and astonishing performance coming down to true drama and believability – he also picked up the best featured actor Tony for playing Billy's father. To say that the actors weren’t A-list, the performance they pulled off was absolutely breathtaking; after this performance I will definitely class these actors as A-list stars.
As well as the main cast, the ballerinas of all shapes and sizes, cleverly showing a whole range of talent; from clumsy to graceful, yet they are all pros. The American actors had to do a Geordie accent for this play which obviously seemed quite hard to do for them, but they still pulled it off. Despite the presence of the adults are dominated by an amazingly talented group of young actors and dancers.
This cast is A-list in Broadway, playing these parts because of the finest judgment of Lee Hall, who wrote the script for both the 2000 film and the musical; and Stephen Daldry who directed. They also had the good sense to hire Elton John to write the music which was a brilliant decision as what he wrote for the play is sensational. When the movie `Billy Elliot' hit the cinemas in the year 2000, both the critics and the audiences were somewhat taken by surprise. It became an instant success, resisting the customs of the day by not having star names or a big Hollywood blockbuster director in its credit lines.
The set was very imaginative as they had a new kind of set in every single scene. They had lack of blackouts and no mistakes whilst taking the set on and off which kept me glued to the performance and allowed me to follow the plot very well (even though I have seen the movie countless of times). In the boxing scene, the stage crew quietly brought on a full sized boxing ring and punch bags during the actors were finishing the previous scene. I was amazed to see that all the set was all ready when the lights came on along with the actors going straight into the next scene. This to me is vitally important because if they took a long time to change the scene, the audience will lose slight focus on the play.