This weekend saw the final performance of Billy Elliot in the West End, following an impressive 11 year run. But the show must go on and as Billy Elliot leaves London, it too will go on to play across the country in a touring production.
Based on the events of the miners’ strike in 1984/5, the show was a stage adaptation of the popular film of the same name. With history, humour and heart, it was an eclectic mix which earned a loyal fan following on the London stage. I only saw the show once on a school trip. At the back of the stalls, I wasn’t overly impressed with it back then. But I will admit the songs are catchy and enduring, ‘Electricity’ and ‘Expressing Yourself’ in particular, and it bears a strong message behind it.
It’ll be a shame to see it go. This year sees a number of other long running shows ending and not just on the West End. Back in February, War Horse took its final bow in London and later this year Les Miserables will close on Broadway. While the closing of a landmark show is sad, it also heralds a new beginning. In the case of Billy Elliot, it’s rumoured that Hamilton will be the next show to take residence at the newly vacant Victoria Palace Theatre, a run which (I hope) will be as long and successful as its predecessor.
So thank you, Billy, for showing us that there’s nothing the hell wrong with expressing yourself.