Sunday, January 24, 2016

Billy Elliot

Debbie and I have season tickets to MTC.  It's always a good time.  Even when it's bad, you have
something to talk about afterword.

Friday night's play was Billy Elliot. Generally speaking I am not a fan of musicals.  Add to that I got Billy Elliot and Bobby Fischer.  Don't ask me how that happened.  It's the same reason I used to get Billy Joel and Elton John mixed up as a kid.  Maybe it's the name Billy that messes me up.

So I went into the play cautiously optimistic. I was curious how they could take a chess prodigy and turn it into a musical.

About 10 minutes in I realized that I got my protagonists mixed up.  Billy Elliot is about a kid destined to a be a ballet dancer growing up in a small English town that relies heaving on the coal mining industry. The town has fallen on hard times during the `84/85 mining strike.

I loved it.  There was a touch of drama, a touch of comedy, a touch of silliness and a heavy serving of talent.

The young boy who plays the lead has so much going for him.  He can dance, sing, and act.  Reading his bio, he spent 20 hours a week learning the dances for the show, how dedicated is that?  I always wonder how that happens.  Did the kid wake up one day and know he wanted to be in the arts?  Did he get exposed to it because he grew up in an artistic family?  It seems so unlikely that he would have accomplished so much (he's has an impressive repertoire of acting gigs across Canada and the US) by the age of 10 purely by chance.

The last couple of plays have been rather upbeat and quirky.  But the next one is going to take a hard left at quirky.  It's called Chimerica and is set the day after hundreds of students are massacred in Tiananmen square in 1989.  There was an iconic photo of a man confronting a tank.  20 years later the photographer who took the photo gets a tip that the individual from the photo may be alive.

So while it won't be a fluffy bunny play, it definitely sounds interesting.


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