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Billy Elliott, Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

Published by: GRAHAM CLARK on 15th May 2016 | View all blogs by GRAHAM CLARK

The Alhambra Theatre in Bradford continues to pull in the big shows, the 5 week run of Billy Elliott is a major coup for the theatre.

A young boy walks down the side of the stalls and places a radio on the stage as the T Rex song, Ride A White Swan plays. It is an unusual start to this unmissable show.

For me the musical has many parrells with The Full Monty: both are set against the backdrop of the miners strike of the mid 80's, both are set in the north of England and both show how the underdog can come through at a time of struggle and apathy.

Billy goes to boxing classes but does not seem too interested until he stumbles across the dance class that follows in the same room. Here his natural gift for dancing is allowed to shine and he goes on to have an audition with the Royal Ballet School where he succeeds in gaining a place.

Billy played by local Leeds lad, Matthew Lyons is a joy and a future star in the making, he did not seem to be acting at all so believable was his role. Martin Walsh as Billy's dad was engaging, he is about to loose his job possibly and also loose his son to ballet.

Annette Wilson as dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson play one of the central charters of the musical, this chain smoking, ankle socks wearing teacher takes on the role of Billy's dead mother. Her dialogue at times is not politically correct in today's climate but it was par for the course 31 years ago.

The politics of the story is dealt with brilliantly as it explores the miners strike and its effects on the community and Billy's family. There are jokes aplenty at the expense of Margaret Thatcher and Wayne Sleep.

Daniel Page as Mr Braithwaite was funny and typical of the chain smoking, beer drinking hard man of the time.

The songs written by Elton John for the musical  may not be well known but by the end of the night you will be remembering them for months to come.

 As Billy gets a place at the Royal Ballet School and the miners strike ends both son and father move on to the next chapter in their life.

At times innocent, at other times funny and sad this is an story we can all relate too.If you have yet to see the show you are in for a real treat. Superb.


Runs until Saturday 11 June, 2016

Telephone 01274 437788





1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 2 years ago
    Thanks, Graham. A lovely review.
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