Thursday, 27 August 2009

Back To Billy (Part 1)

As you would have gathered by now the show Billy Elliot is rather special to me. Having just completed an intensive musical theatre course in which I had to dance myself, and in a sense find the Billy within me, I needed a fix of my favorite show in London. I was feeling spontaneous this morning and just decided to go. I landed a surprisingly good seat seeing how last minute I booked. Maybe it was an omen, a sign of good times to come as I can honestly say that tonight was probably my favorite show out of the fourteen times I have been. There were a lot of understudies on tonight, but in a sense that is what makes the show nice to watch, as their interpretation of a character will differ from the casted actor, thus giving the storyline a new dimension. Whats more It may give me more to write about.

So just to warn you its gone 3am, by the time I have finished writing this it will probably be almost 4, so quite how good this blog will be I don't know. But gone 3 in the morning, and i'm writing for you... thats commitment if I ever saw it! Well maybe not. My train home was delayed by almost an hour after somebody fell ill and an ambulance had to be called. I feel this was somewhat inconsiderate of this person. I hope as they lay on their hospital bed they are feeling deeply guilty for delaying me and making me stay up this late! My god, I really am heartless, aint I? Oh well... on with the blog...

Playing the role of Billy tonight was Ollie Gardner. Well what can I say? Ollie just gets better every time I see him. You can see he is more comfortable in the role as Billy these days which has allowed him to dig deeper into the emotional side of the character. When watching Ollie, he portrays Billy in such a genuine light. He adds an edginess, and an air of insecurity to the role which I really like. I think of all the actors, Ollie's perception of Billy is most real. Exploring the characters depths of emotion, tied in with his ability to express them, Ollie is capable of reaching out to every last audience members heart and mind. Thats quite a talent, and with Ollie building upon his already fine tuned act with every show he performs, I can't help but think this is the beginning of a huge career in acting for him.

Now for a surprise, Tom Holland who usually plays the role of Billy was casted as Michael this evening. I love Tom in this role, he is so different to all the other Michael's. He is a natural born performer, and seeing him in this role demonstrates his versatility. What I enjoyed most tonight was his on stage rapport with Ollie in the role of Billy, beyond the characters you could see that the pair had developed a strong friendship off stage, and this carries through in the energy the pair gave throughout. Digging deeper than usual to score extra laughs and extra tears the "Expressing Yourself" routine tonight was by far the best I have ever seen it performed. Tom's ability to show emotion is fantastic, he definetly delivers a softer Michael, and its when he breaks down into tears in the final scene we see this demonstrated best. This is truly touching, and i think really adds something to what already is one of the most powerful endings in a West End show.

It was a special evening too for Kate Graham, it would be her last official show as Mrs Wilkinson. She will return to the ensemble now, as Jo Ridding is bought in to replace her. I am quite reluctant to accept Jo, I know this is stubborn but I completely adore Kate, she is a fantastic actress who always gives 100%. I guess I am just opposed to change. Still I guess we should always look for positives, so will get to see another side of Kate when she returns to the show mid-September. I guess in due course i will report back on this for anyone who might be interested.

Now there are a lot of other roles in the show and I want to start talking about some of them. If not to make the blogs more diverse, It will at least give me something different to write about. Tall Boy and Small Boy are two roles I haven't really talked about before. They are so crucial to the storyline yet never normally get the mentions they deserve, as they are forever in the shadows of Billy and Michael. So I think this is where I will start... with Small Boy.

Tonight small boy was played by Eliot Carrington. Eliot's big moment in the spotlight is during the boxing scene. Believe it or not this part of the show is very much reliant on the involvement of Small Boy, and the innocence we automatically associate with someone so young. It is just this which adds so much humour to the scene, be it Eliot's cries of "Jeeeeeeeesus" during his press-ups or his innocent if not slightly rude parting comment as he says goodbye to George, its guaranteed to have the audience in stitches of laughter. I don't want to sound like I am knocking the other small Boy's down, but Eliot dies do this better than any of the others, i think its that devilish innocence that he uses to his advantage! Eliot is a natural and a delight to watch, he already has developed some fantastic acting skills and vocally can project himself superbly well. I look forward to seeing his future ventures after his time in the show.

I think that is a nice note to leave this blog on. I got to meet Eliot after the show and he is such a lovely kid, I love meeting new people and this was no exception. I waited around to see Kate and Barnaby also. Its not a show without saying hello to them both! Ollie, Tom and Eliot made this show so worthwhile tonight, so much so I am already looking forward to going again on Saturday! So heres a slightly different ending to a blog a photograph... well it adds a bit of colour to this rather bland page! I'll give you a clue, i'm not the adorable one, that would be Eliot! Isn't he sweet?

Well i said it would be 4 by the time i finished this.... well its 3.58am... not a bad guess eh? Please leave a comment, reading them will keep me occupied tomorrow :)

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