Preview: Billy Elliot

Feelgood song and dance rubs shoulders with political drama in this award-winning musical

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This article is from 2016.

Preview: Billy Elliot

credit: Alastair Muir

A coming of age, triumph over adversity tale it may be, but at the core of Billy Elliot beats a political heart. So when writer, Lee Hall was asked to turn his heart-warming yet gritty film into a stage musical, it understandably gave him pause for thought.

'I was initially quite worried,' says Hall. 'Because although Billy Elliot has a fairytale structure, it came from my own experience of growing up in the north east of England during the Thatcher years and the miners' strike. It's about some of the hardships those communities suffered, and I didn't want that to be sentimentalised in any way.'

Speaking to the show's co-creators, director Stephen Daldry, choreographer Peter Darling, and songwriter Elton John, however, Hall realised they weren't the first people to use musical theatre to make a point – and that Billy Elliot could follow in those footsteps.

'I thought about the very strong tradition of plays with music that aren't glitzy, a lot of which came out of Scotland with John McGrath and 7:84,' says Hall. 'And also Joan Littlewood's Oh, What a Lovely War, and I realised if we inhabited that space we could tell a story about ordinary working class characters that wasn't patronising or sentimental, and make something really unique.'

Edinburgh Playhouse, Tue 20 Sep—Sat 22 Oct.

This article is from 2016.

Billy Elliot: The Musical

  • Directed by: Stephen Daldry
  • Written by: lyrics)

Adaptation of the film about a miner's son, who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer.

Birmingham Hippodrome

Mon 24 Apr

£40–£60 / 0844 338 5000

Tue 25 Apr

£40–£60 / 0844 338 5000

Wed 26 Apr

£40–£60 / 0844 338 5000

…and 3 more dates until 29 Apr

Liverpool Empire Theatre

Wed 10 May

£14.90–£73.40 / 0870 606 3536

Thu 11 May

£14.90–£73.40 / 0870 606 3536

Fri 12 May

£14.90–£73.40 / 0870 606 3536

…and 13 more dates until 27 May

Milton Keynes Theatre

Tue 30 May

£18.50–£68 / 0844 871 7652

Wed 31 May

£18.50–£68 / 0844 871 7652

Thu 1 Jun

£18.50–£68 / 0844 871 7652

…and 14 more dates until 17 Jun

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