Remember Connor Doyle? If you are a regular at Billy Elliot The Musical or sad enough to read my blogs on a regular basis it will be a name you will have heard many times. Connor first came to my attention in the summer of 2009, (opposed to the summer of 69) when he was cast for a six month spell in Billy Elliot The Musical playing the role of Michael. I have always been of the opinion that the supporting actors have a responsibility greater than the lead when it comes to bringing the show to life. After all it is these support actors who mould the storyline for the principals.
Having seen multiple boys in the role of Michael I knew from the start that Connor was something special. He stood out from the crowd, he was better than the rest. At this time all the attention was on Jake Pratt who had found five minutes of fame on Britain's Got Talent... shame Jake never had much talent... but lets not go there. The fact is Connor was overshadowed by Jake's five minutes of glory. Well not exactly overshadowed, it never really phased Connor at all... he simply went out there and showed them who was boss. He would wow one audience after another, in fact I would safely say from what I heard as people left the show, he left a bigger imprint on their memories than any other Michael or in some cases the Billy.
In the early stages of this year however Connor was invited back to the show to plug a gap in the rosta between George Maycock leaving and Joe Massey starting as Michael. Despite on paper having outgrown the role, he accepted the challenge. I must say this was great news, not only for me as someone who holds Connor in such high esteem, but also for the show, which in my opinion would never be able to replace Connor with someone of the same or higher standard. Mind you, I did say the same about Lewis Cope... then Connor came along. But we all know that lightning never strikes twice!
The question on everyone's lips however was "Could Connor do it?", after all having been away from the show for 5 months, there was always the risk that he would be rusty and be unable to get up to peed in the 3 - 4 weeks he had to perform in. Well for all you doubters out there, I can assure you it was like having the old Connor back again... ok quite a bit taller and much deeper, but still an outstanding performer. So natural, and suited to the role, he works the comical moments to his favour, steeling the show. I saw him alongside Dean as Billy on one of his first shows back, and I have to be honest, he out performed Dean ten fold. Now I will be honest, as nice a guy as Dean maybe, he has yet to impress me as a Billy. Furthermore Connor even out performed Tom Holland who I have spoken of highly in the past. He simply doesn't settle for second best.
Although I have seen the show many times with many different people, I actually finally managed to convince my mum to see the show, she had never been before, and in honesty had never shown any interest in seeing the show either. Now I must stress my mum loves theatre. We go together once or twice a month, so had she of wanted to see it she would have by now. Because of all my various commitments I don't often have too much time to spend with family, so its nice to have this time with my mum. Anyway, she had never been too keen on seeing Billy, but interestingly was very keen to see Connor. I think she realised what a positive influence ha had been to me in my own acting work, I guess she wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Well, she liked the show, and thought Connor was outstanding... now for someone who wasn't too keen on even seeing the show in the first place, that is quite a statement.
Whats more it gave me chance to catch up with Connor and his family, something I hadn't been able to do at least face to face for some time. Whats nice is Connor has always taken the time to acknowledge me, come over for a chat, hell I even got a hug after the final show. Its nice to feel appreciated.
So whats next for Connor? The future is looking very optimistic, he has some television work lined up among other things. I don't know if I am allowed to say wheat he is doing publicly just yet, so I will save it for another blog another time. But its exciting times for Connor and I think you will be seeing a lot more of him in the future... and I will be honest, he deserves all the success in the world. A genuine nice guy with a lot of talent!