Billy Elliot: An inspiring, heart-warming tale

In training: Mrs Wilkinson (Lisa Sontag) helps Billy (Jamie Rogers) with his ballet work. Photo - James D Morgan

In training: Mrs Wilkinson (Lisa Sontag) helps Billy (Jamie Rogers) with his ballet work. Photo - James D Morgan

Billy Elliot The Musical is set to hit the stage in South Australia for the first time, with a limited season beginning on December 29 at the Adelaide Festival Centre.

The production, which is centred around a boy who deals with life in a British mining town in the mid 1980s, is not only for the theatre connoisseur, but a spectacle for the entire family to enjoy.

Billy's story is told in a distinct, matter-of-fact tone and the harshness of his upbringing is definitely not sugar-coated. In fact, the context of the story has a rawness which is refreshing and straight to the point.

Featuring the music of Elton John and the book and lyrics of Lee Hall, the productions follows Billy's life through his attempt at taking charge in the boxing ring to discovering his hidden talent and growing passion for dance.

Producer Louise Withers talks about the show.

Q:Why did you choose this project, what drew you to it?

A: From the first time we ever saw the show, we were in love with its message, its inspiration, its heart and its ability to take people on a journey from laughter to tears and back again. It is the perfect musical.

Q:Does the storyline resonate even more so now than when the movie/musical was first presented?

A:The show certainly resonates as much today, if not more, than it did when it was first released as a film, and then again from when the musical was written and produced. Not only are there communities coming together and fighting to survive still now, but there are people all over the world pursuing their dreams against the odds, and making them happen. These are universal themes and challenges and everyone in the audience can look at the characters on stage and relate to one or more of them regardless of age. That's special.

Q: There is the saying "never work with animals and children" - how are you finding working with so many kids?

A: ...This is not our first time working with young actors. They inspire the adults, and the adults inspire them. It's like a huge mentoring program and provides the young actors with invaluable skills which can set them up for their future careers whether in performance or elsewhere.

Q: With four young actors in the main role, do you find the chemistry of the performances are different?

A: Each cast member brings something special and unique to their performance regardless of age. So while the footprint of the show is the same, and the dialogue and music, there will always be slight nuances which are individual. But that is also what the show is all about - celebrating individuality. We have audience members return to the show four times, so that they can see each different Billy perform and see what they individually bring to the show. But overall every show delivers a special experience and one which truly does reach in and capture your heart.

Billy Elliot The Musical is set to hit the stage in South Australia for the first time, with a limited season beginning on December 29 at the Adelaide Festival Centre.

For more information or to book your tickets visit https://www.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au/

This story Billy Elliot: An inspiring, heart-warming tale first appeared on Barossa & Light Herald.