Billy Elliot - again

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Billy Elliot - again

Postby Barry » Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:31 pm

Billy Elliot, the Palace Theatre, Manchester, January 4th 2017

It's been a good year for seeing theatre so far, and this send me flying, and then sent me crashing again. yes, it is an extraordinary show; extraordinary in so many ways, none more than the miracle that there are boys who can hold the stage for three hours, whilst singing, acting, dancing and doing a northern accent. It is an epic part by any standard, let alone for a twelve year old boy. This tour has been hardly scaled down since the London production - just a few mechanics changed and a few ensemble gone. but what astonishes me is the sheer organisation to get this on. Three teams of children, all with an army of security conscious chaperones, four Billy's still having to have schooling, a mammoth set squeezed into a theatre with no huge wing space, a large orchestra, a mammoth cast with dozens of costume changes, and a long, long show sometimes twice a day.....all on the road. I am so impressed and blessed that we can have such a huge show up here. I'd love to be a fly on the wall backstage, watching the marshalling of everyone and everything. Someone has to be very strict and in control, with a cool head. When I saw it in London, disaster was narrowly averted when the trap in the stage did not close and a dozen or so tutu dressed girls went charging towards it. A quick thinking stage manager saved the day. It is a clever piece of theatre, very aware it is just that, with some subtle touches, like Billy just calmly walking off stage after his huge number that closes act one. No snap black out. end of number now walk off as the actor, not the character. I had a friend playing one of the major characters and was backstage between shows, lapping it all up. So often the mechanics and process of such a performance is as exciting as what happens on stage. But oh to be involved with something of this scale.
However, I was relieved this week that our rushes were approved with an 'awesome'.....
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