Review: Billy Elliot the musical at Victoria Palace, London


It is rarely I come out of a musical and know I could quite happily sit down and watch it all again right away.

But Billy Elliot has broken the mould.

With a story that has particular resonance 30 years since the miners strike of 1984-5, this is a production that works on an entertainment, an emotional and a technical level.

But the reality is that without an immensely talented bunch of very young boys, it would simply not be possible.

We obtained decently-priced tickets in the mid-stalls from for a matinee production but didn’t let the mid-afternoon setting get in the way of our total theatre experience.

So after a hastily necked glass of Prosecco – you only live once – we settled down to be entertained.

Those who have seen and enjoyed the film version of this heart-warming story will enjoy this production, but the musical element simply propels this into another dimension.

The finely tuned combination of songs, dance and movement that make this story so special are set against a political backdrop of such dark and no-holds barred reality it really pulls a punch – something that is also reflected in the language used by even the child actors.

Seeing expletives roll off the tongue of a small girl reminds you that this is not just a story – but based on very recent history and very real people.

The youngsters playing all the child roles – not just Billy Elliot – are so talented it really takes you aback.

To combine proper acting, singing and dance in such a powerful way at such a young age is jaw-dropping.

And after watching Billy’s monologues and solo’s you simply need a lie-down.

It looks exhausting.

This is a stellar production and long may it run.

We just need it up north next.

December 2014.