Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Make Mine A Double

No I haven't become an alcoholic, nor am i ordering a giant cheesburger! I simply went to see Billy Elliot... twice. Having written about how it inspired me a lot, I felt it was time I went back to see the show. One thing I like about Billy Elliot is that the show is moulded and shaped by the actors you get on the night playing the part of Billy or Michael. I am very keen to see all of the Billy's, however theres still one (Tanner Pflueger) I haven't seen despite seeing the show seven times now.

The first of my two most recent trips was for the Saturday matinee show. Playing Billy for this show was Ollie Gardner. Ollie is the latest Billy to join the cast, having been with the show around 6 weeks now. I quite like Ollie, he brings an air of mischief to the role, and is definitely a very talented actor with a great singing voice. His "Electricity" routine however was more remnant of a gymnastics display rather than a dance with a huge combination of flips. Don't get me wrong it was very energetic, well timed and perfectly executed, it just lacked that pizazz that I have seen in other shows. I don't want that to sound negative as its not at all, because overall Ollie's performance was so unbelievably strong, and I feel given time this lad will raise his game and become the best Billy in the show. he definitely has the potential to do this.

Playing Michael was Connor Doyle. I had seen him play the role once before now. He is such a worthy replacement for Lewis Cope. I don't think anyone will be as good as Lewis, but Connor sure comes close. He has that natural flamboyance needed to play Michael and his tap routine in "Expressing Yourself" is faultless!

Whenever I go to see Billy Elliot I always love it, every last minute of the show. Though when I went to see it on Monday night, I can safely say it was the best of the seven times I have been. Everything about the show was perfect. The atmosphere was electric, the performers were faultless and the ice cream was that little bit more chocolatey than normal. I don't think chocolatey is a word... but I like it... the word that is. Well I like the ice cream too but its no Ben and Jerrys I must admit. I love Phish Food, what a flavour for ice cream! Feel free to share yours in the comment box at the end of this, who knows a whole debate on ice cream flavours could erupt over the use of the word chocolatey! Either way the setting was perfect, before the show had even started I had a good feeling about this evening, and something told me I was in for a great time.

I think the first positive sign for me was the fact that Fox Jackson-Keen was billed to play Billy at tonights show. Fox is by far my favorite Billy, and even if trying to remain neutral I would say that he is the best of the five boys who play the role. Alongside him playing Michael once again was Connor Doyle. The chemistry between the two boys was immense, and their performances were faultless from the very beginning right through to the final curtain call, it was utterly fantastic. Tonight also saw an understudy playing the part of George (The boxing teacher). I have always liked the guy who normally plays the role, but this other guy was amazing. Its really interesting to see how different actors perceive and portray a characters personality so very differently, and in doing this the actor has the ability to almost alter the feel of the show without having to change the script. Theres a lot of science behind playing a character and the more i think about it the more it fascinates me.

But back on topic. I was really pleased to be seeing Fox play Billy again, as if you remember from my blog "The Inspiration", it was his performance that really made me think about my ambitions in theatre. Though all this aside he is just a pleasure to watch, hes a great actor and fills the role with so much passion and emotion. Needless to say the audience went crazy for his "Electricity" routine which is predominantly a hip-hop/ street dance rooted excersise with each move pulled off with adrenalin pumping precision and timing. The great thing about the routine for "Electricity" is it gives each Billy the chance to freestyle playing up to their abilities, so each time you see a different Billy you see a different dance. Fox, and indeed the entire cast fully deserved the standing ovation they received, the standard of the show is so high it has me wanting to go back and see it again already... and who knows I may finally get to see Tanner play Billy!

Sandwiched between these two shows on Saturday night I went to see Wicked. Although I have seen the show once before I have never quite understood what all the rage is about it. Sure the actors have great voices, but it is all very cheesy and fails to encapsulate me. I must admit I do like the music, but I can't honestly see what the show has going for it other than this. If anyone would like to enlighten me on this little closing thought please leave a comment!!!

Anyhow if you haven't seen Billy Elliot yet, do make an effort to see it. If you have seen it already, go see it again! And for heavens sake leave me comments, it makes my day!

Anyway thats me done for another day or so check back soon.

G xxx


  1. Cookie-dough please :D
    you know i love wicked...don't diss it :p
    glad u had fun

  2. i its emo-kid im just saying in your face i didd read it and posted a cmment but any who billy elotot <----i thnk i spelt it write bu ho ad lol ttyl on msn latr dude <3 ya byee

  3. this is terrific writing, really keeps the reader in-tune with how you feel and that's how it should be.

  4. I love Billy Elliot so much!!! And ice cream is good too.... Vanilla as a plain or cookie dough or fossil fuel or phish food or...


  5. Yes it's Fox Fox Fox. He was the first Billy I saw in London - amazing young actor who rally captures the audience and drags them kicking and screaming into the life of Billy. Those facial expressions of his just smack of reality.
    It's always great to see other actors play roles - you're right in saying the script is the same put the portayal is always unique.

    Brad from FOBE

  6. I've been attending BETM since Oct. 27, 2005, when I became "addicted" to the show and the VPT and London.

    The thing with "Wicked" is that it's right there inside the "BETM Aura", so it's an uphill battle IMHO.

    How could it possibly match BETM for sheer power?

    I'm actually wedging in 2 other shows on my next Billython, but that's only because of Wednesday and Sunday performances on other stages.

    Welcome to the looney-bin Gareth. Keep on writing and we'll be reading.