Billy Elliot - Extracts from Newspaper Reviews

Wednesday 17 August 2005

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Billy Elliot - Extracts from Newspaper Reviews
"...Billy Elliot strikes me as the greatest British musical I have ever seen, and I have not forgotten Lionel Bart''s Oliver! or Andrew Lloyd Webber''s Phantom of the Opera. There is a rawness, a warm humour and a sheer humanity here that is worlds removed from the soulless slickness of most musicals. Yes, there are rough edges that would give Cameron Mackintosh a fit of the vapours, yes, there are occasional scenes that are not as powerfully played as those in the film. But there is so much more that is big and bold, imaginative and great-hearted. The emotion always seems real and spontaneous, rather than cunningly manipulated to pull at the heartstrings... The whole cast is blessed with a freshness and sincerity I have rarely seen equalled, and one leaves this triumphant production in a mist of tears and joy." The Daily Telegraph

"Turning small-scale movies into big musicals is a treacherous business. It failed with The Full Monty, which lost all of its gritty truth when musicalised. But 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... Stephen Daldry''s production is a model of fluidity and intelligence. He constantly reminds us that the special power of the musical is that it can express a lyrical idea through physical action..." The Guardian

"...Together, Stephen Daldry and Lee Hall have concocted a piece that’s tougher, bolder and, as my tear-ducts can attest, more moving than its admittedly admirable celluloid precursor. With its rags-to-riches, or rather poverty-to-piroutte, story, the piece invites sentimentality. But that’s almost entirely missing in the Geordie pit village where young Billy discovers he has a gift for dance... Moreover, the action exactly coincides with the 1980s miners’ strike — and this comes across far more emphatically than in the film..." The Times

"Billy Elliot The Musical, based upon Stephen Daldry''s classic movie, is just irresistible. It catches you - or at least me - in its fervent grasp, and pins you down with all the artfulness of a vintage seducer, right to the misguided, sentimental finale... This is an evening which throws a fierce political punch as well as an emotional one. No modern musical has struck such rebellious, old Labour, workingclass conscious notes... Stephen Daldry, always at his best on the grand scale, deftly marshals a throbbing mixture of angry miners, threatening policemen and little girls in tutus - all singing. Ian MacNeil''s versatile designs set the changing scenes..." The London Evening Standard

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