My first musical experience in London since 2000.
Even though I'd been to London several times since my first in 2000, this was the first time I'd made it to a show since my first voyage. Shocking and terrible, I know. But hey, the other times I was merely passing through or on business trips. What can I say, I'm a busy person. Something something priorities and unfortunately, the stage sometimes takes a hit. As do many other things (like eating, for example).
Anyway, it was time for us to check out the wonderful nightlife of showdom again and check it out we did.
Discounted tickets were on the docket and what was the best of the selection? Billy Elliot.
It was the best rated of the bunch, no doubt, and certainly the one that we'd not all seen. (Unfortunately I have the rare gift of having seen many of the shows that are currently touring London: Wicked, The Lion King, etc. We've also, as a group (my parents and I), seen many of the classics that are currently playing: The Woman in Black (which I highly recommend to everyone, because we saw it before it was made into the movie and it's incredible, even if you don't love horror though it's better if you do because it'll scare your pants off), Les Miserables, Stomp, Phantom of the Opera, etc).
Anyway, it was decided that Billy Elliot would fulfill our desire to see something on the stage, so we bought some awesomely discounted tickets and set the date.
As it turned out we were also celebrating the opening of the sound studio at work the same night, so I quickly scarfed some h'ordeuvres (salmon sandwich, chicken skewer, sun-dried tomato tarte), and tanked a Heinekein before meeting my parents and making our way to our show for the night.
The result? Definitely not a disappointment. Billy Elliot was just as fantastic as all my coworkers said it would be and more.
First off, I had no real clue what it would be about. Yes yes, young boy who loves dancing at a time when boys were not supposed to love dancing. That was all I knew.
Didn't know that there would be a backdrop of coal mining and abusive family structure. Something something sad times and poorness. But anyway, just added to the flavor.
One of the more hilarious things about the production: sometimes their accents were really difficult to understand and well, sometimes we missed dialogue or parts of the story because of it. What are the coal miners striking for? Ah, I missed it! Who's that boy again? He's the one that cross-dresses and traded an autographed photo of someone for a Nurse Sandy doll.
We had hilarious conversations like this because sometimes, we really just didn't know what was happening. But it added to the greatness, so no worries.
And the dancing was fantastic. I don't know how many boys they have to constantly have trained so they have a constant crew of Billy Elliots available for their shows (which they basically run 5 days a week, sometimes with matinees as well), but these boys are pretty young. The one we saw that night was 12 years old I think (we looked him up afterwards). So if these boys only have a window of maybe 3 years to perform before they're too old, and they have to have tap dancing, ballet, and modern dance training beforehand, or at least enough training to know the routines they do on stage, then jeebus, these kids must start early.
Another thought that occurred to me - they sing. What do they do afterwards with all of this sing and dance talent? Surely they must go onto showdom afterwards, but what kind I wonder? No idea. There are a lot of shows in London though, so I'm sure they find their way.
Anyway, long story short, the musical was fantastic and it was a good reintroduction to the world of London theater.
Thank you Don, finally starting to see your good side again. Your weather has been horribly unpleasant and disappointing, but at least your night life has been pretty good. :)