Saturday, March 19, 2011
Toronto's Billy Elliot
But the show is called Billy Elliot. It’s not Elton John Phones it In or Samuel Pergande Pirouettes or even Miners Who Tap Dance, it’s Billy Elliot. So you know the only thing that really matters? Billy Elliot. The show lives or dies with the kid tasked with the title role. It’s an insane part: an eleven-year-old kid from a down-and-out British family who is simultaneously an everyman and remarkably special, he’s mature, empathetic and kind but also impulsive, defensive and rough around the edges. Oh, and he has to dance. Not wave his arms around a bit and keep the beat, this kid has to DANCE- full ballet technique, lightning fast tap, soulful interpretation and all. He also has to sing and take on one of the most complex character arcs of any kid in musical theatre (not to mention carry the whole show). But I was lucky enough to see Myles Erlick play the role, so none of that seemed daunting at all.
Billy is everything in this musical; it’s a whole different show each time there’s a different kid in the part. So, really, there are 4 productions of Billy Elliot happening in Toronto right now. I’m sure the Caesar Corrales version is great; I’m sure that Marcus Pei brings a lot to the role and JP Viernes really delivers. But I didn’t see those productions, I saw this one.