Billy Elliot at Birmingham Hippodrome

by Dave Massey

Billy Elliot – The Musical: A treat of a show!

I’m at the launch evening for the fantastic Billy Elliot – The Musical as it begins its eight week run at Birmingham Hippodrome. It’s directed by Stephen Daldry who directed the film version of Billy Elliot and with music by Elton John.

This is an unapologetic snapshot of life in a northern pit town in the mid 1980s. It’s bold, brash and full of swearing and with huge music numbers. A working class mining in County Durham are clinging on to a life that will soon be taken away from them forever. Life was tough financially and emotionally, and their stories demonstrate this.

Billy Elliot Tour
Adam Abbou ‘Billy Elliot’ and Ensemble. Photo by Alastair Muir

I first saw Billy Elliot in Manchester earlier this year and I was lucky enough to interview some of the cast for my BrumHour show on Brum Radio. They are passionate about the story they are telling and its clear that they love this play with all their hearts.

You can listen to the interview here:

Young Lewis Smallman from West Bromwich, and is one of four principle actors playing Billy during this huge UK tour. He spends big chunks of the show as the focus of several set pieces and he’s just excellent.

Lewis Smallman ‘Billy Elliot’ and Ensemble. Photo by Alastair Muir

Annette McLaughlin takes on the role of Mrs Wilkinson made famous by Julie Walters with such passion and honesty you forget it was ever a film.

Annette McLaughlin ‘Mrs Wilkinson’ and Ballet Girls. Photo by Alastair Muir

Martin Walsh is great as Billy’s dad, the loss of Billy’s mother, the pressure from the threat of industry loss all blend into his character and its not until the 2nd half that you are allowed to see him for who he is.

Billy Elliot Tour
Adam Abbou ‘Billy Elliot’ Martin Walsh ‘Dad’ and Scott Garnham ‘Tony’. Photo by Alastair Muir

Playing  Billy’s brother Tony is Scott Garnham. A fiery character that give Scott the chance to show how the young men of the miners strikes were becoming disenfranchised with the system they were in.

I can’t say enough why you should go and see this. It’s smart, funny, challenging, emotional and leaves you feeling hopeful about the future.

Billy Elliot Tour
Haydn May ‘Billy Elliot’. Photo by Alastair Muir

Billy Elliot – The Musical is at Birmingham Hippodrome until 29th April so you’ve no excuse to avoid going. Book tickets here:

Huge thanks to the team at Birmingham Hippodrome and Billy Elliot for inviting me.