I’m no stranger to a musical these days; from seeing Wicked and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, I’ve become quite fond of a theatre trip. So when I heard Billy Elliot, the musical, was coming to Sunderland Empire, I was immediately interested.
The story follows the same narrative as the film and focuses on Billy, a young boy raised through the difficult time of the Miners’ Strike in the North East. Much to the displeasure of his father; swaps his boxing gloves for ballet shoes and follows his dreams to dance.
Now I love the film, I think Jamie Bell, being from the North East, really brings the character of Billy to life, so I had pretty high expectations from the musical. Dare I even say, I knew I would be critical of the accent, being familiar with Easington Village.
Aside from the odd Geordie tone (which may well have been me being extra critical) the accent was good and I was blown away by the talent from the entire cast. Billy was incredible, Mrs Wilkinson was sassy and encouraging in equal amounts, Mr Braithwaite a star in his own right (even just for the fan!) but I loved Michael, Billy’s best friend. He was witty and hilarious. There’s a scene that involves dresses and it was done so brilliantly; both my Mam and I were in stitches.
I laughed, I cried (note: take tissues with you) and I left with dreams of being a ballet dancer. Dreams I’ve had for years and never acted upon; maybe it’s about time I found an adult ballet class and got myself along!
Billy Elliot, The Musical, is home in the North East until 30th April. Tickets are available from Sunderland Empire’s box office and online from ATG tickets. The musical is touring other theatres too, so check out where it’s on next if you’re interested.
Thanks Sunderland Empire for inviting me along to such a wonderful evening. All stage images are provided by Sunderland Empire with permission.