Billy Elliot the Musical is a brilliant stage evocation of the film Billy Elliot by its author Lee Hall, director Stephen Daldry and musical director Elton John.
Beyond the basic storyline — the miner’s son who wants to become a ballet dancer, against the backdrop of the miners’ strike — little is the same as in the film.
The stage takes over completely from the camera, and tells the story in a totally different way.
One major and visually delightful ingredient of the stage adaptation is the development of the story to a very large extent through dance.
There is the young girls’ dance class Billy Elliot wanders into at the start, his own choreographic development and his future stardom — danced beautifully by a mature dancer.
The confrontations with the police are also portrayed largely choreographically, as well as the development and defeat of the strike.
Some of the performances are excellent, particularly Billy’s dad, whose change of heart over allowing Billy’s dancing career is moving.
Elton John’s music merges beautifully with the atmosphere created by the lyrics, the dancing and the story as a whole.
Even the programme is an interesting and valuable study in how two people — Lee Hall and Elton John — with not dissimilar backgrounds to Billy Elliot created such a splendid musical. The whole performance is an absolute delight.
Billy Elliot the Musical is being performed at Victoria Palace Theatre, London