We subscribe to over a thousand television channels and I can say with certainty that there is nothing worthwhile watching about 90% of the time. It used to be that Maury Povich and his “Who’s your daddy?” episodes were the most deplorable, soul-sucking train wrecks on TV. Now the medium is cluttered with “reality” programs that feature pretty much the dreads of society making a complete mockery of the human race (yet, I find some of it too fascinating to turn off. Do people really live like that?!?).
In an effort to protect my brain from any further softening and to stop padding the wallets of these “stars”, I have renewed my interest in live theatre.
As a Christmas gift, my brother and I purchased a series of shows from Mirvish Productions for my mother. The poor catch for her, is that she has to attend each performance with me.
A few weeks ago, we attended Billy Elliot. To say that it was a musical spectacle worthy of Sir Elton John’s sequined pants is a gross understatement.
Billy is a young boy growing up without his mother in northern, working class England. His father, brother and most of the village men work at the coalmines. It is 1983-1984 and while I was just toddling around with my Chatty Cathy doll, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was determined to privatize the long public coalmines of England. A fierce standoff between the government and the union ensued. After a yearlong strike that affected more than 300,000 workers the union was defeated.
Billy’s father, a recent widow, is a hard working, hard drinking, hard fighting man. He scrapes together a few coins a week for Billy to learn boxing. It is after a boxing lesson that Billy stumbles upon an all-girls ballet class. The instructor soon identifies a raw talent in Billy but he is torn between his newfound love for ballet and his loyalties to his father.
The storyline tugs at the heartstrings, as Billy faces ridicule from his peers and disappointment from his elders. However, Billy remains true to himself despite the challenges that he faced with.
There is no disputing that the moral of Billy Elliot is one we can all stand to hear (again) and to share with our children. The theatre was a full house and many of the seats were filled with boys who watched in awe at what can only be described as musical electricity!
The young boy(s) who plays Billy is destined to be a star. It is impossible to take your eyes off him during his numerous tap dance solos and the power behind his voice begs one to pay attention. And it is the attention of Sir Elton John that he caught.
Coming up: This Thursday, I will be giving my “review” of The Secret Garden.
photo credit: www.steveonbroadway.blogspot.com