Liam Mower was one of the first Billy's
Billy Elliot: a selection of your views
You've been emailing us since the hit musical first danced its way on to the London stage. Has it been bouquets all the way to its 1000th performance? Sometimes - but not always, as we reveal below...
"Heartfelt" and "heroic" were the words our critic Mark Shenton used in his First Night review of the show, back in March 2005.
He went further, describing it as "quite possibly the greatest modern dance musical since A Chorus Line", and singling out 12-year-old Liam Mower - one of the very first Billy's along with James Lomas and George Maguire - as "an utter revelation".
One of the first set of comments we received came from:
"Oh my god! Billy Elliot is the best musical anyone could ever see! I think James and George and Liam are amazing!!!"
Cakes mark the show's 1000th performance
"Fantastic, funny, and sad, excellent to watch, dancing from all was brilliant, was very choked after we left theatre."
... and Sophia Ellis
"I thought it was brilliant! The best musical I've ever seen, the lads who play Billy are so talented and do a brilliant job! The rest of the cast are also fantastic, with brilliant acting and singing with very catchy songs! Well done! :D"
Soon after, we were contacted with this:
"I am Australian and was stunned at the show, so cannot wait until it makes its way here so I can see it again".
With the musical's international credentials in place, a pattern began to emerge of teenagers - and girls in particular - using our comments system to enthuse about the young leads:
"My mum cuts George's hair and MY MATE THINKS HE IS FIT !"
George's numba 1 fan
"I think that George and James are the buffest boys eva seen I wish I cud be where u are guys I think I wud die of excitement Love emzy H xxxx
"Liam Mower u rock."
Sally Dexter and Travis Yates
The high level of approval continued even when Billy Elliot went through the inevitable cast changes:
"I have seen Billy Elliot 9 times and want more, this is the most amazing, exciting musical, my favourite is George Maguire with Colin Bates a very close second."
"Colin Bates was playing Billy. Even though I have only seen a couple of musicals, it's the best one I've ever seen. Colin is an amazing dancer and he is very talented."
Han and Sash
"We've gone 2 the show twice and it was amazing!! We saw Leon Cooke and Travis Yates who were both brilliant..."
But when young Mancunian Layton Williams joined the show, there was an unexpected development:
"Great show, but the boy playing Billy was black - why??? This is about a white working class miner's family - not mixed race. I thought this was strange and took away some of the enjoyment as it did not seem plausible."
"It doesn't matter which actors you see, or what colour skin they have. It's a musical on a London stage, based on a fictional story, not reality. So just enjoy the show! (If you have to, pretend he was adopted!)"
"I just wanted to say thank you for all your really nice comments and I hope you all enjoyed the show. I'm sorry that some people disagree and didn't exactly enjoy my show but this is what I love to do and I'm grateful for Billy Elliot to give me a chance."
And just when you might have been thinking that every comment we've received over time has been unwaveringly positive about the show's qualities, there was this:
"A frothy first half with light-hearted treatment of a dark time. Language that will offend the sensitive. No memorable tunes. Much better second half with some real oomph! But then a ludicrous burlesque-style encore that wrecked the whole feel of the thing for me."
Billy Elliot - the Musical continues at the Victoria Palace Theatre, Victoria Street SW1.
last updated: 12/08/2008 at 16:10