After a little mishap where we booked the tickets for Billy Elliott thinking the show was Jan 2016, finally in January 2017 I made it to the Palace Theatre in Manchester to watch Billy Elliott!
From the opening scene I was captivate by the innovative use of the set and the talent of all the cast. The stage was set in a community centre with sections that pulled out, turned around and could be used for the other scenes in the houses and audition room. I thought it was an extremely clever way to use the set design to convey the different scenes and it was very successful.
In terms of the cast, the children playing the main character rotated, but combination that played Billy (Emile Gooding), Michael (Bradley Mayfield) and Debbie (Evie Martin) were phenomenal. I must make a special mention for Emile Gooding, whose dancing skills were some of the best I have ever seen in a musical, including for adults. Simply put he was mesmerising. Bradley Mayfield also impressed with his comedy for the part of Michael. Both are ones to watch for British theatre. The accents, broad Geordie, were also great – I’m sure not all of the cast is a native to the north east but you would never have known! Even the children had fantastic accents.
There was a lot more swearing in the stage production that I remember from the film! Every sentence had some sort of swear word or rude in some way. I was suddenly acutely aware of my ten-year-old cousin sitting with us. Especially when Debbie offers to show Billy her fanny!
Overall I thought this was a fabulous production with a great cast, superb choreography and clever set design. A fabulous evening!