Many of us are already familiar with the story of Billy Elliot, but for those that aren’t – During the 1984 miner’s strikes in Durham, England, a young boy discovers that dancing is his true-life passion. The boy’s family struggles with money and family expectations whilst he tries to live out his dream. The miners’ strikes that provides the background for this story were the longest running national strikes to date and affected villages and families all over the UK.
“I found myself on the edge of my seat for most of the play! Absolutely astounding! Yes, I would come to see it again!” – Mark, 54
This story is a national hit and started with a film where the character of Billy was played by incredible actor Jamie Bell. In 2005, this heart-warming story took from the screen to the stage and since then it has been a worldwide phenomenon. It spent 10 years in the West End, time on Broadway, has won 80 awards internationally including 10 Tony awards and 5 Olivier awards, and has been seen by 11 million people over 5 different continents across the globe.
So who is behind this multi-award winning success? Writer of the original book and lyrics Lee Hall is part of the team, alongside director Stephen Daldry – the same man who directed the screen film, – choreographer Peter Darling, and when we mention that the brains behind the music is Elton John it’s really no surprise that this performance has touched millions around the world.
There are 4 different boys sharing the lead role of Billy across the individual shows and tonight the star of the show was Emile Gooding (pictured above). Emile started dancing aged 6 and has been in many theatre shows, but is especially excited to be playing the character of Billy at only 12 years old. The performance this boy provided tonight was absolutely incredible, leaving me in awe at his talent, both in his dancing and singing.
This 2017 UK and Ireland tour made its debut at Theatre Royal, Plymouth in February 2016. Since then it has been all around the UK and Ireland, staying at Southampton until 4th March 2017 then moving onto Birmingham, Liverpool and finishing in Milton Keynes on 17th June.
Right from the opening scene the cast had me captured. It made me laugh on multiple occasions, particularly in the scene when Billy and Michael are trying on women’s dresses and singing about expressing themselves. I cried twice, during letters that Billy’s mum wrote to him and the reply he wrote to her, and in a scene where an older Billy is doing a dance from swan lake the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and my jaw dropped. Upon having watched it, it really is no wonder that this show is so critically-acclaimed and has won so many awards. I’ve been to the theatre multiple times but no show has put me through so many emotions and thoughts as this, and I will definitely be getting tickets to see it once more before it leaves Southampton.
“The entire cast is so talented and the ballet scene gave me chills!” – Sophie, 22
This multi – award winning performance is not one that you want to miss.