Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Billy Elliot the Musical: Theatre Review

Billy Elliot the Musical runs at the Victoria Palace Theatre where it originally opened back in May 2005. To this day Billy Elliot is playing too sold out audiences and remains one of the top West End shows, although I could not see why. On 23rdMay 2011 I made my way to see the show; I have never seen the film before this but knew the story enough to be able to tell what was going on.
Elton John's score was truly uninspiring and the only memorable piece was the dance break in Electricity, which was the only point for me when I felt the music was uplifting and refreshing. Lee Halls Book was witty and Stephen Daldry complemented this with his direction.
Pete Darlings Choreography was good but nothing special; I feel as though my dance teacher in my old theatre school could have done the exact same thing, I felt no personality come through with the dance so it felt very impersonal to the audience and the characters.
All the way through the show I felt no connection or sympathy for the characters, I couldn't even warm to the children, I felt it was lost in the show and could do with some tiding up in places. The accents in the show were quite poor but very strong, limiting the tourists understanding of the book (as shown clearly by the American woman behind me, explaining half the show to her friends).
The whole show felt very tired to me and i think the show would benefit from closing for a while and then re-opening with a new cast and some cleaned up direction and chorography. The set looked very worn-out and every time each piece came onto the stage it looked like they could collapse. The best moment was when all set was cleared from the stage and Billy and Older Billy had a dance duet together, that was the best moment in this show for me. Very simple but still very powerful. 
I would love to say that the cast made up for where the musical lacked, but this did not happen. Genevieve Lemon (Mrs Wilkinson) gave a good performance however her accent crossed over about four countries in her first scene, Martin Marquez (Dad), Ryan Collinson (Billy), Tom Lorcan (Tony) and Diane Langton (Grandma) were a great combination, with Diane Langton's performance rising above the rest giving a fun, comedic interpretation of the character. I was hoping to be touched and moved by the show, but for me the standard of the show was not at the level that it should have been.
Rating: **
Billy Elliot is currently playing at the Victoria Palace Theate

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