Revisiting ‘Billy Elliot’

After a sweltering afternoon at the Blues Festival followed by a refreshing dinner at Tavern at the Park, mom, Gerald and I strolled down to the Oriental for a visit with Billy Elliot. I saw the show three months ago on press night, and was amazed — both by the performance and the media spectacle (my thoughts here).

How would the show hold up without Oprah and Elton John leading mid-show standing ovations?

Quite well, I must say.

Out of the four possibilities for the role of Billy, we got Ceaser Corrales again. And, again, he was AMAZING. Though, I would have enjoyed seeing another young actor’s take on this demanding role.

One thing I noticed is that the actors’ Newcastle accents have gotten thicker — particularly Emily Skinner‘s, who plays Billy’s down-on-her-luck ballet teacher. She’s still sassy, touching and fun, but I had a very hard time deciphering what she was saying, which I don’t recall ever being a problem in April.

I was also reminded how wonderfully structured the “Solidarity” segment is — where Billy’s ballet class intermingles with the ongoing coal miners’ strike. It’s a brilliant piece of staging.

Lastly, I noticed there are two too many jokes about men doing splits and straining their groins. Groin jokes are always groan-worthy in my book.

The nearly sold-out audience gave Corrales a much-deserved standing O. Even if you don’t care for the show, this is a performance that DEMANDS getting out of your seat.

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