BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL Review

Kylend Hetherington as Billy in BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL. Photo by Kyle Froman.

Links to all reviews can be found on the BTC REVIEWS page. Blog postings, links and more are available on my FaceBook fan page. You can receive updates on Twitter from @BTCincyRob.

BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL presented by Broadway in Cincinnati through Jan. 29. You can read the show description here.

If you are on the fence about whether or not to see BILLY ELLIOT during its two-week visit to Cincinnati, I’d recommend you take the plunge. If not, you may be missing one of the best productions of the season.

This was my first time seeing BILLY ELLIOT, and it was a bit overwhelming trying to take it all in. It is one of those productions where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and most of its parts are very good.

The Script
Based on the 2000 movie, from what I remember the book for the musical hits most of the major plot points. There are many themes running throughout the show: following your dreams; the importance of friendship, family and community; the heart of the working class, the importance of teachers and the arts; and a parents wish for a better life for their children to name a few. These themes did not feel forced or bog down the show.

Kylend Hetherington as Billy & Maximilien A. Baud as Older Billy. Photo by Kyle Froman.

The Staging/Choreography
I really enjoyed the unique staging in this production. Visually my favorite numbers include  “We’d Go Dancing, ” Billy’s “Angry Dance” and “Once We Were Kings.” For choreography, my favorites were “Solidarity” and Billy’s “dream ballet.” Both the director and the choreographer enjoyed playing with the idea of hard vs. soft throughout the production.

A couple of the scene changes did came off a bit “clunky,” but I attribute that to it being a demanding show to tour, on top of it being their first night in a new venue.

The Company. Photo by Kyle Froman.

The Cast
BILLY ELLIOT features a strong ensemble and great character work.

Opening night, Billy was played by Kylend Hetherington.  This is a hugely demanding role for any performer and young Kylend carried it well. The audience response to his solo performance of “Electricity” briefly halted the show.

I also enjoyed the emotionally strong performances of both Leah Hocking as dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson and Kat Hennessey as Billy’s Mum.

Leah Hocking as Mrs. Wilkinson with The Ballet Girls. Photo by Kyle Froman.

Ben Cook does an outstanding job as Billy’s friend Michael. Both boys showcased their tapping skills (with a bit of help from the ensemble) in “Expressing Yourself.” Also a treat to watch was the comic antics of Morgan Martin as ballet girl Susan Parks (pictured at right in purple.)

My biggest complaint is that it was hard to understand some of the dialogue due to the heavy accents. In musical numbers, where groups of performers were singing different lyrics, it was difficult to make out what was being sung.

Kylend Hetherington as Billy & Rich Herbert as Dad. Photo by Kyle Froman.

The final number/curtain call, “Company Celebration,” is a very fun farewell from the entire cast.

For me, BILLY ELLIOT was a very enjoyable evening and definitely a show I would want to see again.

BTW here is the content advisory from the Broadway in Cincinnati website: A few mildly violent riot scenes and a 2+ hour running time may make the show unsuitable for your own youngsters, but the show’s message, content and story and content are a definite don’t-miss for ‘tweens and above.

Click here for a complete list of show times, articles and other reviews for BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.

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5 Comments

Filed under Reviews

5 responses to “BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL Review

  1. Michael Grogan

    I tell my friends that they have to see Billy Elliot The Musical, especially if they have tweens or older children. But everyone should educate themselves ahead of time about the miners strike and Maggie Thatcher. This will help understanding the unfamiliar accent. The above review is right-on.
    The show will inspire old and young alike, but the viewer has to pay attention, and a second viewing will be even more revealing and enjoyable.

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  2. Thank you taking the time to write, Michael.

    Like

  3. Sandy Belcuore

    We seen Billy Elliot Tuesday night. Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing it after hearing a few of my friends comments about it. BUT, I am so glad I went to see it. I thought the show was AWESOME!!!! My whole family enjoyed it!!!

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  4. PQ

    I loved the movie and the Broadway show adaptation was wonderful … except … the ending. The ending in the movie brought it home for me, the now grown, trained ballet dancer Billy making that wonderful leap onto the stage in his debut with his father, brother and friend Michael watching with pride.

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  5. LB

    We took my daughter’s dance team to see Billy Elliot. They all loved it! but I do agree with the comment above that it is good to talk about it befor you go. the kids that knew the mining story got it a lot more than the kids that didn’t. Our girls were in the 10-13 year old age group so we also discussed the language befor hand. Loved It!

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