We arrived at Victoria Palace Theatre in London’s West End to review the award winning musical Billy Elliot, which is now in its eighth year since its naissance back in 2005. It surely could not fail to impress with the music being written by Sir Elton John and directed by the original film director of Billy Elliot, Stephen Daldry.

Jack and I thoroughly enjoyed the British film version of Billy Elliot, written by Lee Hall in 2000, which depicts ‘an inspirational story of one boy’s dream to realise his ambitions against the odds.’ Set in the North East of England against the background of the historic 1984/85 miners’ strike, Billy pursues his passion for dance in secret to avoid disapproval of his struggling family.

As the lights went down and the performance began, the audience immediately became empowered by the galvanising personalities of the cast. The narrative unravels the trials and tribulations of a young Billy who has secret aspirations to perform ballet in the adversity of bigotry arising from Easington’s deprived coal mining community.

Even the explosive songs express the angst of anti-political demonstration with numbers like ‘Merry Christmas, Maggie Thatcher’ and ‘Once We Were Kings’ in their fight against the Government’s plans to privatise the mining industry.

In contrast to the trenchant mood of the miners, the audience is beguiled by the younger members of the cast who execute amazing dance routines with unbelievable stamina and poise. The show is superbly choreographed with music and dance personifying the central theme of the performance.

The scene with Billy and his best friend Michael, who is dressed in his mother’s clothes, perform a transvestite routine called ‘Expressing Yourself’ brings a roar of rapturous laughter from the audience, with Michael clearly demonstrating his belief that everyone is different and should not masquerade their feminine fantasy of being a male Judy Garland, which was hilarious.

Most certainly for us, the climax of the performance was when young Billy and his older-self, act out a pas de deux to Tchaikovsky’s notorious Swan Lake. The stage darkens then unexpectedly explodes into a ray of silver and black. Billy is now attached to wires and soars through the air, demonstrating amazing aerial movements whilst being expertly guided by professional ballet dancer, Alexander Loxton, who plays older Billy. This scene is truly breath-taking, stirring every conceivable emotion which would challenge the most cynical theatre critic not to be impressed by this fantastic ballet sequence.

Billy Elliot is a superb West End show and we would most certainly watch it again which is testament to the brilliance of the cast and the show in its entirety. There are some expletives in the narrative so it is more suited to children eight years and older. Victoria Palace Theatre is easily accessible via Victoria Train Station and the London Underground which has access to the District and Circle and the Victoria Lines, both are 100m from the theatre.

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