Genevieve PM Roy
If I were to ask you: What does it feel like when you dance? What would your answer be?
As for young Billy Elliot, his modest reply (said with a proper British accent) was: “Don't know. Sorta feels good. Sorta stiff and that, but once I get going... Then I like, forget everything, and...I sorta disappear. Like I feel a change in my whole body. And I've got this fire in my body. I'm just there. Flyin' like a bird. Like electricity. Yeah, like electricity.”
And electric, this twelve year old certainly was … Billy Elliot the musical takes Montreal by storm at La Place des Arts from January 8th to the 13th 2013.
The plot is simple: A coal miner’s son in northern England is gifted for ballet and dreams of soaring across the stage. His family, suffering from the British miners’ strike of the mid-1980s, is initially opposed due to financial and traditional, masculine, ideological reasons, but with the help of a few friends and a very enthusiastic teacher: Mrs. Wilkinson, played with style by New York actress Janet Dickinson, Billie just might find the support he needs to fulfill his dreams.
While few of us might actually have the potential of the show’s young protagonist, it quickly became apparent during the performance that everyone has at least the urge to dance. Encouraged by the cheers and claps from the long - suffering coal miners dressed in elaborate tutus at the show’s closure, the audience members were very happy to stand up and enthusiastically clap and move along to the music.
Complete with colorful background panels, decors, humorous props and numerous costumes, the performance itself was smashingly seductive.
The show audaciously exploited the most essential and enduring appeal of musicals themselves. The performers were at times serious, then funny, but always moving. Catchy songs and virtuosic, physically demanding dances numbers were performed with gusto by the young cast.
Due to the demanding nature of the show, four young, multi - talented kids: Ben Cook, Drew Minard, Noah Paret and Mitchell Tobin were cast to share the starring role as Billy Elliot in this musical adaptation of the popular 2000 film.
The show reminds us at every moment of the gritty and distressed society that produced Billy, so that his poetic dancing appeared all the more surprising, powerful and transcendent.
The musical might also strike a chord of resonance with some young boys of our generation who dream of dancing and who face barriers from some members of their family or community who still hold some prejudices.
Much of the power of “Billy Elliot” lies in the fact that the show helps to break down barriers and thus open the way to communication. It also passes a strong message; that in times of economic darkness, there can be relief and salvation to be found in the beauty of the arts.
A striking musical that is energized, kid and family friendly and quite unforgettable.
Billy Elliot runs from January 8th to the 13th 2013 at La Place des Arts
Saturday, 2:00PM, 8:00PM
Sunday, 2:00PM, 7:30PM
Time : 2hrs. 50min. (1 Intermission)
Ticket price range from : $89/$79/$69/$36