Billy Elliot - Curve Leicester

Billy Elliot The Musical reviews – Curve Theatre Leicester 2022 ★★★★★

A new revival of Billy Elliot The Musical has opened at the Curve Theatre in Leicester, directed by Nikolai Foster and choreographed by Lucy Hind.

The show began performances on 13 July 2022, with an official opening night of 20 July.

Based on Stephen Daldry’s BAFTA-winning 2000 film starring Jamie Bell and Julie Walters, Billy Elliot the Musical has music by Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall. The musical first premiered at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre in 2005 and went on to win a host of international awards, including four Olivier Awards and ten Tony Awards.

The show stars Leo Hollingsworth from Nottinghamshire, Alfie Napolitano from Northamptonshire, Samuel Newby from Hertfordshire and Jaden Shentall-Lee, sharing the role of Billy; Billy’s dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson is played by West End and Broadway legend Sally Ann Triplett; and Michael, Billy’s best friend, is performed by Bobby Donald, Lucas Haywood, Ethan Shimwell and Prem Masani. Also, Joe Caffrey plays Billy’s Dad Jackie, Rachel Izen plays Billy’s Grandma Edna, Luke Baker plays Billy’s older brother Tony and Jessica Daley plays Billy’s Mum.

This “Made at Curve” production of Billy Elliot the Musical is choreographed by Lucy Hind, with Musical Supervisor and Musical Director George Dyer. The set is designed by Michael Taylor with costumes designed by Edd Lindley, plus Lighting Designer and Curve Associate Ben Cracknell, Sound Designer Adam Fisher, Props Supervisor Lizzie Frankl, RYTDS Resident Assistant Director Lilac Yosiphon, Birkbeck Trainee Director Thyrza Abrahams, Associate Choreographer James Berkery, Dialect Coach Elspeth Morrison, Fight Director Kev McCurdy and Head Chaperone Helen ‘H’ Mclaren-Frost. 

Billy Elliot The Musical runs at Curve Leicester until 20 August 2022.

Photo: Marc Brenner

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Average Critics Rating

Billy Elliot The Musical reviews

The Telegraph

"This feel-good tale of a boy who loves ballet still has legs"

"With strikes in the headlines, the Curve's remounting of Elton John and Lee Hall's musical feels freshly relevant"

"Some of the most famous sequences from the original musical are remounted, and are still theatrically thrilling – as in a sequence where police officers and miners clash around a ballet lesson, or when a riot intersects with Billy’s own internal turmoil (even if some of the police officers’ prancing steps are a little too silly to seem threatening). It may have a touch less flash than the West End version – a dream sequence when Billy dances with his older self keeps its feet more firmly on the ground; no aerial work here – but Lucy Hind’s exhilarating choreography is performed with great energy throughout, in a production that proves this story still very much has legs."

Holly Williams, The Telegraph
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The Stage

"Powerfully relevant"

"Ambitious revival of Lee Hall’s coming-of-age musical bursting with energy and heart"

"Artistic director Nikolai Foster handles the piece with confidence, creating a busy, boisterous world where protesters stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of state oppression and the whole town turns out for the scant comforts of the working men’s club’s Christmas party."

"New choreography by Lucy Hind often feels exhilaratingly breathless, mixing in contemporary steps – well, contemporary for the 1980s – with classical pieces to create something that feels fresh, unforced and properly unrestrained."

Dave Fargnoli, The Stage
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The Times

"This revival will have you dancing for joy"

"It’s a flat-out masterpiece. And if you had any worries that a humble regional revival of a musical that played in the West End for 11 years and on Broadway for three would come off second best, believe me, there is nothing humble about Nikolai Foster’s luminous production."

"It’s epic but intimate. Heavens, even the swearing is gorgeous. Several of Foster’s Curve musicals have gone on to have a life elsewhere. This, his biggest yet, will surely, hopefully, be one of them."

Dominic Maxwell, The Times
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Leicester Times

"Billy Elliot the Musical is a raw and emotionally charged powerhouse of a production, which will leave audiences feeling inspired, uplifted and moved by the time the actors take their final bow."

"All in all, Billy Elliot the Musical is a marvellous production with all the right ingredients to stir powerful emotions, inspire, uplift entertain and then some!"

Louise Steel, Leicester Times
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What's On Stage

"Billy is back in an electrifying new production!"

"This may be a show about loss and precarity, but there is nothing at all precarious about Nikolai Foster's utterly stunning new direction and Lucy Hind's cleverly insightful natural movement-based choreography. Michael Taylor's inspired set design is a wonder to behold and Ben Cracknell's expressive lighting shows perfectly why he is often the go-to choice for Curve. Edd Lindley's costume design takes us instantly back to the 80s, while Adam Fisher's sound design totally hits the spot and the combination of Martin Koch's orchestrations and musical director George Dyer and his hidden on-stage band make Curve's Billy Elliot a sublime musical experience."

Phil Lowe, What's On Stage
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Daily Mail

"Billy still has the power to move us to tears"

"It’s fair to say that Sir Elton’s finest work lies elsewhere, but Mr Hall’s deeply humane writing carries the show, which is about loss and grief — for Billy, it’s for his dead mam; and for Easington’s men, their livelihood — and the importance of community."

"The pulsating band are under the direction of George Dyer, while among a large cast the young principals on press night — Jaden Shentall-Lee as Billy and Prem Masani as his best friend Michael — are terrific."

Patrick Marmion, Daily Mail
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