London Matinee Report from FavD

1 08 2009

“Billy Elliot: Oh. My. God.”
Posted by penguindust under England, London

en route

So Billy Elliot is amazing.

It’s kind of hard to articulate how amazing, but I’ll try.

If any of you saw the performance at the Tonys –- the one with the tap dancing and the police shields –- know that the whole show is that intense and that good, and heartwarming and funny to boot.

How talented are the 12-year-old boys playing Billy Elliot, you ask? Let me say, in ten years of dancing and seeing shows, I have never heard taps, in my entire life, as clean as the taps I heard today. Anyone remember that amazing kid who tap danced in The Boy From Oz? Yeah, the kid we saw today was about fifteen times better than that. At everything.

The show is a heartbreaking and heartwarming tale set in parallel: a young boy in a tough coal mining town wants to dance ballet, and his dream matures as the town dies. It’s the story of a kid, it’s the story of a community, and it is filled with some of the most spectacular choreography, design, talent, and storytelling you will ever see.

The whole message is ‘be yourself.’ One of the slogans of the show is, ‘if you want to dance, dance.’

The musical is incredibly organic and natural as it chronicles Billy, his family, and his town coming to terms with this idea, as it simultaneously comes to terms with the death of coal mining as a way of life. In many ways, it’s about the hope for the next generation to renew itself.

On the walk back to the hostel, we were trying to pick favorite numbers, favorite moments –- the segment where Billy first learns to dance, the primal screaming and tap dancing from the young lead against the cops and the system, the heartwrenching final number as Billy is silhouetted in the helmet lights of the coal miners as they sing a final a capella elegy for their way of life –- but we eventually gave up when we realized we’d listed every number in the damn show. There is not a clunker here, ladies and gentlemen.

If you saw the movie, it’s better than the movie. If you saw the Tony [awards] performance, it’s better than that. It is quite simply the best show either of us has seen in a good while.




One response

2 08 2009

To the Billy Elliot UK fan forum that picked up Favorite Daughter’s review and has been visiting Snook to read it, thank you! Nice surprise for us, and when she gets home next week, I expect she’ll get a kick out it too.

Yes, she is American, a 19-year-old dancer and FSU student seeing her first West End show while backpacking Europe for the summer, and her IRL name is Meredith Ross.

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