Co Producer Louise Withers introduced the Media Call by stressing the relevance of Billy Elliot’s themes.
They included the importance of family, the community and loss thereof, following one’s dreams, the need for tolerance, compassion and understanding and the importance of support and encouragement. The universality of these themes has meant that this musical has been translated into other languages many times.
Simon Pollard, the Director of this production, stressed the quality of the cast and what a pleasure it was to work with them. He pointed out that the four boys who play Billy on alternate nights were selected from 200 applicants in a process that commenced in September last year. These boys had to sing, dance, do ballet moves, tap dance and acrobatics, all with a Geordie accent. He was further pleased, that unlike the tour in 1007 which played in Sydney and Melbourne only, would now play in Brisbane and Adelaide due to a more flexible set. He also mentioned that the ‘Billy effect’ was such that last year more boys applied for the Royal Academy of Ballet in London than girls.
In order to showcase the talents of each individual Billy five edited excerpts were presented to the media. The stars looked down and shine when Billy is played by Omar Abiad. ‘Expressing Yourself ‘ where Billy is played by Wade Neilsen, accompanied by Hamesh Monger playing his best friend Michael. In ‘Angry’ Billy is played by River Mardesic and finally in ‘Solidarity’ Billy is played by Jamie Rogers.
Simon Pollard amusingly pointed out that the language in this production had been cleaned up . In the film the f word was used 44 times but in this production it was used only 17 times.
On the basis of all the Billys we saw, no matter who you get, you will get a great show.
All pics by Ben Apfelbaum (c)