Lower V visit the theatre

Posted: 1st October 2015

Drama students see Billy Elliot

Banu Ali, Lower V Alpha, reviews the production of Billy Elliot which the Lower V Drama students saw last week:

‘On Wednesday 23rd September the Lower V drama students visited the Victoria Palace Theatre to watch Billy Elliot the Musical.

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Billy Elliot is a 12 year old boy who develops a secret passion for ballet at a time where homophobia and poverty was at its peak. Billy was a boy growing up in England in the time of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership when there was social unrest resulting in the year-long miners’ strike which affected Billy’s mining town in County Durham.  From the beginning of the play until the end we were all drawn in and processing information about the context at the time – thanks to the songs, dialogue, and set design.

The first time Billy danced, (which was for just 15 seconds with him waving his arms around, experimenting) I found it very symbolic and there was something breathtaking about the whole experience. There was smoke coming out of a smoke machine giving me the feeling that something very mystical and secretive was going on whilst there were also giant shadows projecting Billy’s every move on to the wall of the set, giving an impression of greatness.

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Dance was a significant aspect of the musical, with many of the dances choreographed simply awe-inspiring. The standard of dancing made me want to take up dance lessons! The dances ranged from tap to leaping about the stage to traditional Swan Lake ballet. My favourite dances from the musical were Angry Dance, where Billy is enraged and everything goes haywire – both in his bubble of dance and politically in County Durham. An electric guitar is roaring in the background with the riot police and miners clashing violently whilst Billy is at the front dancing his heart out. Expressing Yourself was a dance shared between Billy and his best friend, Michael, who was gay. The song’s lyrics spoke about conforming to social norms and the dance was a spectacle – bright, shiny streamers appeared in the background with cabaret style shells dotted around the front of the stage. The boys performed a jolly tap number whilst giant-sized mannequins pranced around the stage.

The jokes were very entertaining, as were the characters, particularly Michael and Billy’s grandmother who was a bit of a scatterbrain.

By the end of the play everyone in the class left the theatre feeling ecstatic and wanting to watch the play again!’

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