Monday, 31 August 2009

Back To Billy (Part 3)

Its always sad when a cast member leaves a show. I am not sure why i feel a connection to that person, but some how I get entangled in the emotion of it all. Prior to the show starting Stephen Daldry took to the stage to make a special speech for the parting cast member. So quite who is Stephen Daldry? I hear you ask, well he is the director of both the film and musical adaptation of Billy Elliot. Without Stephen none of this would exist. I think that really puts his importance into proportion. To Billy Elliot fans or at least the ones with no religious beliefs... he is god!

So this speech was rather nice and included a message from Lee Hall who is responsible for the lyrics to the musical. It made me realise the huge role that Trevor Fox played in Billy Elliot. Not only had he played George (the boxing coach) on two occasions, he was also involved with the film in some way or another. This means that he had been with Billy Elliot for over ten years. That is quite a commitment. I think that in its own right is a testament to Trevor. Though I have to be honest, he is like a shadow in the night. He never partook in the curtain call, and wasn't one for fan contact. But when he took to the stage he was fantastic, and hes left a huge hole that will be almost impossible to fill. I will tell you about his replacement in due course, but thats for another day.

I am forever doling out the praise in my write ups. I assure you this isn't just because I am a nice person. In fact ask any person who knows me to describe my personality, I don't think nice would be a word that would crop up too readily. If i were to write down what a lot of people would say, this article would become x-rated, so I will leave you to use your imagination on this one. I see myself as honest and somewhat opinionated, or at least I try to be. Maybe they are not the best qualities in all circumstances but on the plus side it means all the glowing reviews so far of people such as Tom, Jonathan and Eliot very accurate. However on the down side it means that I now have to go against the grain and cite an opinion on an actor I am not too keen on.

Remember "Britain's Got Talent"? You know that show which that George Sampson won for dancing almost as well as Tom Holland?... Oh come on, lets be honest, Tom is much better than George Sampson, whilst George's routine was full of energy, and yes I admit I voted for him, put him against Tom, and I guarantee you he would wipe the floor with George. I've gone off at a tangent again haven't I? Well you may remember a young lad by the name of Jake Pratt who was on the very same show. He is now a Michael in Billy Elliot The Musical and has been getting some great reviews.

Unfortunately I still cannot give him one. He is a natural entertainer and yes he certainly can act and brings some unique touches to the role that is Michael. However, the overall package for me is somewhat weaker than the other two boys casted for the same part. Jake in my opinion lacks a singing voice and his tap routine still needs work. Though over and above this, for me he just lacks the likable factor which George and Connor both have. This would have been the second time of seeing him, and whilst I would say he has made a huge improvement from the first show which I saw him at, it will be quite some time before his characterisation of the role grows on me. But hey, I'm an open minded guy, maybe next time he will win me over... lets hope so.

As for Billy, today I had the pleasure of seeing Tanner Pflueger for only the second time. And yes it is a pleasure to see him, he has a certain elegance that other Billy's lack. As you may have remembered from the last Billy series, I described his ballet as beautiful, and it is just that. His posture and movements are that of a true professional. Though in paying so much attention to his ballet, I didn't notice how good his angry dance routine was until this show. Tanner reaches deep to bring out the emotion, and with precision movements and the finest tap steps he completely nails it, bringing the first act to such an epic ending.

I honestly feel that Tanner's skills are under appreciated. A lot of younger people prefer the street dance routines, I guess because they seem a lot more spectacular. Though if I am honest it probably takes a lot more practice and commitment to master ballet in the way which Tanner has. Whats more if you open your heart and mind to a ballet routine like this, you soon realise that it is just as spectacular as the acrobatics in street dance, just in a slightly different way. I hold Tanner in such high esteem, and I am absolutely gutted to hear the rumours that he may soon be leaving the show. I just hope in that time I get the opportunity and gain the courage to tell him just how much of an honour and indeed a privilege it has been to see him perform. A truly amazing guy.

Just for the pure fact it was Tanner performing made this show well worth being at. Getting to see Jo Ridding, the new Mrs Wilkinson was all rather nice also. Fleur who plays the role of Debbie was fantastic as ever as indeed was Jonathan Danciger. I felt Logan who played the role of small boy at the evening's performance is certainly living in the shadows of Connor and Eliot who perform the role so well, but give him his dues he is only six or seven so has a long time to work on his performing skills.

So it's goodbye Trevor Fox, as another chapter closes on Billy Elliot The Musical. Talking of closing, I think its a good time for me to draw this blog to a close also.

Goodnight and happy reading!

G xxx

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