Previewed 31 March 2005, Opened 11 May 2005, Closed 9 April 2016 at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London
The acclaimed stage musical adaptation of the film Billy Elliot in London at the Victoria Palace Theatre featuring songs composed by Elton John - now in it's ninth year!
Billy Elliot the Musical is a funny, heart-warming and feel-good celebration of one young boy's dream in a gripping tale of triumph over adversity. Adapted for the stage from one of the most adored British films of the last decade. The extraordinary movie - written by Lee Hall, directed by Stephen Daldry and choreographed by Peter Darling - has been developed for the stage by the same multi-award winning creative team. The score for the stage show has been composed by Elton John. The original story captured the hearts and minds of the world when the movie was released in October 2000. Nominated for 3 Oscar's and 13 Bafta awards this poignant film broke box office records across the world.
Please note that, like the film, Billy Elliot the Musical contains strong language as well as some scenes of confrontation between policemen and miners. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, when booking tickets for parties including children, please consider the film version of Billy Elliot which as a rating of '15' and whether this would be suitable for all members of your party. The producers of Billy Elliot The Musical recommend a minimum age of eight years old.
When this production opened Michael Billington in the Guardian said that although "turning small-scale movies into big musicals is a treacherous business... Billy Elliot succeeds brilliantly because Elton John's music and, especially, Peter Darling's choreography enhance Lee Hall's cinematic concept. The musical, even more than the film, counterpoints Billy's personal triumph with the community's decline," adding that "Stephen Daldry's production is a model of fluidity and intelligence." Sheridan Morley in the Daily Express thought that while "the history of Hollywood is littered with bad films made of great stage musicals - what makes Billy Elliot unique is that the production team has taken a medium movie and turned it into the best British musical of the decade... it will probably run for ever in the West End" while in the Independent Paul Taylor hailed it as being an "exhilarating production... funny, touching and shamelessly enjoyable," aided by "Peter Darling’s witty and constantly inventive choreography." Peter Willis in the Daily Mirror exclaimed that "Billy Elliot has it all - dark realism, hilarious comedy and truly heart-tugging ballads" and finishing up by saying that "in the end, Billy triumphs. And so does this musical. With its message of tolerance, it's sure to be hailed as the best British musical since 'Oliver!'." In the Times Benedict Nightingale described how "together, Stephen Daldry and Lee Hall have concocted a piece that's tougher, bolder and more moving than its admittedly admirable celluloid precursor... a show filled with passion: for a community, for the rights of the individual and, above all, for the dance." Alastair Macaulay in the Financial Times thought that "Elton John's music is too often formulaic but about half of this show achieves dramatic poetry of a kind rare in any kind of theatre." Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph said that "Billy Elliot strikes me as the greatest British musical I have ever seen... there is a rawness, a warm humour and a sheer humanity here that is worlds removed from the soulless slickness of most musicals" while "the emotion always seems real and spontaneous, rather than cunningly manipulated to pull at the heartstrings" so that "one leaves this triumphant production in a mist of tears and joy."
Elton John, who wrote the music for this stage production said: "I am extraordinarily proud of what Lee Hall and I have created for the stage musical of Billy Elliot. The show demonstrates everything I love about the power of art. It can inspire you. It can transform lives. Art can make you look at life in a way you never have before. And it can take you places well beyond your wildest dreams." Lee Hall, who wrote the book and lyrics said: "If Billy Elliot is about one thing it is that we are all capable of making lives for ourselves which are full of joy and self-expression, whilst we might not all become ballet dancers we are capable of finding moments of real profundity and creativity whatever our circumstances. But more than that we have a duty to ourselves and each other to create a society where this possibility in all of us is nurtured and can flourish. We owe it to the next generation to create a world where it is possible for the Billy Elliots as yet unborn to have a chance to succeed and flourish rather than be fed to the machine which grinds us into identical pieces only fit for consumption. If Billy Elliot conveys any message at all 1 hope it is that it is possible to fight back and resist and it is possible to move on without forgetting where you come from."
"Recent big musicals - Mary Poppins and The Producers - rely on razzle-dazzle, Daldry and the choreographer, Peter Darling, have made set pieces in keeping with the world they are creating... The performances are equally intimate and culturally specific... Ultimately, however, a musical stands or falls on its songs, and Billy Elliot lacks the memorable melodies and unforgettable lyrics to propel it into the all-singing Hall of Fame." The Sunday Times
"Only rarely does a show explode on to the stage with such originality that it changes the face of theatre for ever. Director Stephen Daldry and writer Lee Hall - he's responsible for the script and lyrics to Sir Elton John's atmospheric musical score - have done what few believed was possible. They have actually improved on their hugely successful film. Having already danced his way into movie history, Billy Elliot now whirls, taps and pirouettes into our hearts. Set during the miners' strike of 1984, the story of Billy's battle from the deprived North East to London's Royal Ballet School is heavily political - Maggie Thatcher gets a wicked seeing-to in one memorable number. And that's not the only difference between this and the conventional stage musical. Forget glamorous high-stepping chorus lines, here we have strapping miners and burly policemen dancing with dumbfounding energy to Peter Darling's revolutionary choreography. And what other musical has leading characters like Billy's dad, an ageing disillusioned pit-man who thinks ballet is for cissies, and Mrs Wilkinson, the cynical dance teacher with an unhappy home life but a gimlet eye for the talent in a young boy's feet?... No matter which of the Billy Elliots you catch - three lads will share the role - I'll bet the show is just as sensational at every performance. So don't delay - grab your tap shoes and dance on down to Victoria." The Sun
"Stephen Daldry's passionate new musical version, a work of fabulous flair and tremendous talent... is darker, grittier, much funnier and more moving than the film... In essence, this is a story about the transforming power of art, about daring to express yourself, about nurturing talent... This heart stopping show is a must-see." The Mail on Sunday
"Although at times the action on-stage looks more like milling about than dancing, the choreography enriches the play with bold visual metaphors that pit the artist as individual against the values of community. At the end of the first act, Billy throws himself against a wall of riot shields, but as the scene continues the police start to seem imprisoned behind a wall of their own making while Billy dances free... What you get with Billy Elliot The Musical is bucketloads of that old razzle-dazzle. You get uplifting lyrics, chubby miners fluttering in the air like flying hippos, panto, sentimentality, and plenty of belly laughs. Above all, you get the children, who are extraordinary... What you don't get though is that big extra something the word 'musical' should add. Elton John's score fails to deliver any memorable songs or the mesh of wonderful music that knits together the greatest musicals. But if Billy Elliot is not one of the great musicals, it's challenging and enjoyable viewing." The Sunday Telegraph
Billy Elliot the Musical in London at the Victoria Palace Theatre previewed from 31 March 2005, opened on 11 May 2005 and closed on 9 April 2016. During the preview period a reduced schedule of around four performances per week was played. This production was originally scheduled for 5 April 2005.