Billy Elliot-The Canon Theatre
For those who don't know,Billy Elliot, The Musical
is set in Thatcherite Britain at the onset of the great Coal Miners' Strike. Billy is the son of a coal miner.His brother is a coal miner. Everyone he knows works in, or is beholden to, the coal mines. His future is written for him. That is until he stumbles into a dance class run by the chain-smoking Mrs. Wilkinson (Kate Hennig
) and a new possibility opens.
I can't think of a show that depends so heavily on the performance of a single performer; it's up to the kid playing "Billy Elliot" to "sell" the character and the musical. A lot of pressure to shoulder for any actor, much less someone who's thirteen years old. The "Billy" I saw was played by Marcus Pei
and, man, he sold it from the get-go! Just the right amount of frustration and anger, with a great deal of talent and an utterly engaging charm. I believed him!
Maggie Thatcher is skewered at every opportunity, especially during the Christmas pageant, a number worth the price of admission on its own. But it's the moment of poetry, when Billy dances with his future self, that I'll remember.
The rest of the cast is terrific! Special shout-out to Jack Broderick
who played Michael, a cross-dressing chum of Billy's, with scene-stealing flare.
2:45 includes one 15 minute intermission