Billy Elliot The Musical first pirouetted onto the London stage 10 years ago, but in the light of the recent election “it has never been more current” its writer Lee Hall said at the gala celebration last night.
“It feels as if, as the show goes on, politics and the reason for doing it [becomes more important]; emphasising that everybody has a gift within them but it’s our job to be able to let it flourish and allow that to happen,” he told a packed audience eager to celebrate the Olivier Award-winning show’s decade of full houses at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre.
Music superstar Elton John, who wrote the songs for the hit show after his partner David Furnish suggested the successful movie would make a brilliant musical, agreed, telling Official London Theatre: “There are still struggles going on. We hope the new government will be compassionate to the people who don’t have much in the world. There’s far too much between the haves and the have nots. I’m very proud of my country, and we’ve made huge advances, but there’s still a lot of love and tolerance to be spread about and this is what the show does. You can’t beat that message, especially in the world we live in today.”
The musical, which tells the story of a young boy from an 80s mining town who discovers a talent for dance, celebrated a decade of London performances last night with a special performance featuring six young actors – Brodie Donougher, Thomas Hazelby, Ollie Jochim, Bradley Perrett, Elliott Hanna and Matteo Zecca – sharing the role of Billy.
In a nod to the contribution made be all of the show’s young performers over the last 10 years, a decade’s worth of past ballet girls flooded the auditorium to join the show’s finale.
“I’m so proud,” commented the Rocket Man singer, who is also working on a new musical about which he was remaining tight lipped. “Billy Elliot never dates, it never gets tired. The performances by the children and the cast are amazing and the choreography of the show is probably the best I’ve ever seen. Peter Darling [the choreographer] deserves a medal.”
While John would not be drawn on his new stage show, the creative team were all positive about the thought of taking a film adaptation of Billy Elliot The Musical to the big screen and possibly adding in songs that had to be dropped from the stage show.
Director Stephen Daldry, who orchestrated the 10th birthday celebration while also bringing his revival of The Audience to the West End stage, took the event as an opportunity to thank everyone, from the young performers’ families to his own team, for making the last 10 years possible.
“These reunions are like big weddings,” he told us. “They become extraordinary gatherings of all these people who you’ve known for so long, that are so much a part of your family. It’s an amazing event.”
As Billy Elliot The Musical celebrated 10 years of perfect pirouetting yesterday, it also announced an extension to its booking period. Tickets can now be bought for performances up to December 2016.