I suppose it worked in my favor that at the Toronto premiere of Billy Elliott last night, Sir Elton John was there with a big smile on his face and a white tutu around his waist. This worked in my favor, I’m thinking, because when Elton’s there, no one has any choice but to bring his or her A-Game. And that was most certainly what the entire company brought last night.
I have my suspicions, though, that no one in this company knows how to bring anything less than perfection.
I had heard some mixed reviews about the show. Friends of mine loved it; friends of mine hated it. Because of this, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was familiar with the movie and I had some vague knowledge of the miners’ strike and the relationship with Margaret Thatcher, but I didn’t know a single one of the musical numbers beforehand.
I didn’t expect to laugh so hard – don’t even get me started at how hard I guffawed when Billy misreads ‘William Elliot, Esquire – and cry so hard – don’t even get me started on how hard I wept when Billy talks to him mum.
I didn’t expect to love the costumes as much as I did. Let’s be honest here…the 80s? Small British working-class town? It wasn’t exactly an exciting time in fashion. But, the designers absolutely nailed it. I was instantly transplanted to this time and place.
I didn’t expect to fall in love with Cesar Corrales, the one of the four Billys who got to perform on opening night. What a class act that 14-year-old is! He is not only a dancing prodigy, he brought heart & soul to his performance last night.
The only downside for me, really, was the lack of truly memorable songs, especially in the second act. I walked away with visions of Swan Lake and impeccable ballet moves and fabulous choreography in my head, but I wasn’t humming any specific vocal numbers. It didn’t stop me, however, from downloading the entire soundtrack on my iphone this morning.
Even though I didn’t know what to expect going into last night’s show, I can tell you what I expect right now. I expect each and every one of you to take in this brilliant little gem. You won’t be sorry.
(Billy Elliot is currently playing in Toronto at the Canon Theatre. You can buy tickets here.)