From the very first scene, the no-expense-spared Second North American Tour of Billy Elliot the Musical, now delighting Durham Performing Arts Center audiences, is a visual feast, with eye-catching mid-1980s costumes and elaborate sets recreating the grime of the mining town of Easington and the glamour of the Royal Ballet School. The audience quickly gets lost in the extravagance of the show. Sets and scenes change rapidly, with each one flowing into another almost cinematically, so that there is never a dull or lagging moment. Although Billy Elliot could never be considered provocative or gritty, it is definitely a night of fun at the theater.
What is most impressive here are the young cast members. The Wednesday, Nov. 3rd, evening performance featured Giuseppe Bausilio as the title character. Bausilio, who is from Bern, Switzerland, is an incredibly gifted dancer as well as a fascinating character to watch on stage. His interactions with his best friend, Michael (Jacob Zelonky), a kid with a flair for the dramatic and a secret passion to dress up in women’s clothing, are particularly enjoyable. The young ballerinas in the show also add to the cuteness of the production.
There are a few adults in Billy Elliot, however, who manage to steal a bit of the spotlight from the dazzling young performers. During the dream scenes in which Billy speaks (and sometimes sings) with his dead mother, Beverly Ward’s sweet portrayal with mum shines. Faith Prince is loveable as the hard-faced, hard-living ballet teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson; and Patti Perkins’ Grandma bounces off the stage with energy, particularly during her rendition of “We’d Go Dancing.”
This show has practically everything a modern audience could ask for. There are shimmering, glittery costumes, incredible choreography, and the kind of special effects usually found only in Hollywood productions. Billy Elliot the Musical is, for sure, the show to see for a first-timer or those yet to be impressed by the true magic of the stage.
SECOND OPINION: Nov. 4th Raleigh, NC Classical Voice of North Carolina review by Jeffrey Rossman: http://cvnc.org/reviews/2010/112010/BElliot.html; Nov. 4th Durham, NC Independent Weekly blog by Kate Dobbs Ariail: http://www.indyweek.com/artery/archives/2010/11/04/dancing-toward-solidarity-sensational-billy-elliot-at-dpac and Oct. 28th blog by Byron Woods: http://www.indyweek.com/artery/archives/2010/10/28/building-a-musicalliterallybilly-elliot-at-dpac; Nov. 4th Raleigh, NC News & Observer review by Roy C. Dicks: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/11/04/781543/review-five-lead-actors-bring.html and Oct. 24th previews by Rebecca J. Ritzel: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/10/24/755795/billy-elliot-the-darling-of-broadway.html and http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/10/24/755800/billy-elliot-born-in-hillsborough.html; and Oct. 15th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview and Nov. 4th review, both by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/9920432/article-THE-BILLYS?instance=main_article and http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/10165034/article–Billy-Elliot–is-a-shining-example?instance=main_article, respectively (Note: You must register first to read this article). (To read Triangle Arts & Entertainment’s online version of the Oct. 21st Triangle Theater Review preview by Robert W. McDowell, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2010/10/dpac-opens-its-stellar-2010-11-suntrust-broadway-series-with-2009-tony-award-winner-billy-elliot-the-musical/.)
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9-11, 8 p.m. Nov. 12, 2 and 8 p.m. Nov. 13, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the DPAC, in the American Tobacco District, at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.
BOX OFFICE: DPAC Box Office: 919/680-ARTS (2787), Tickets@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/default.asp?dpac=54. Ticketmaster: 800/745-3000, 919/834-4000, or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1106208.
GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919/281-0587, GroupSales@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/default.asp?dpac=22, or http://www.dpacnc.com/resources/files/pdfs/BILLY ELLIOT Group Prices.pdf.
SHOW: http://www.dpacnc.com/default.asp?dpac=19&objId=256. SERIES: http://www.dpacnc.com/default.asp?dpac=21.
The Musical: http://www.billyelliotthemusical.com/ (official website), http://www.billyelliotbroadway.com/ (Broadway show), http://www.billyelliottour.com/ (tour), and http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?ID=475106 (Internet Broadway Database).
The Film: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Elliot (Wikipedia) and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0249462/ (Internet Movie Database).
Elton John: http://web.eltonjohn.com/index.jsp (official website), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=11938 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005056/ (Internet Movie Database).
Lee Hall: http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/?p=auth02C20N525212626976 (The British Council’s “Contemporary Writers” website), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=475122 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0355822/ (Internet Movie Database).
To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts & Entertainment reviews online, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/.