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Billy Elliot

Date

7th December 2016

Society

Facade Productions @ Victory Academy

Venue

Ormiston Victory Academy

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Dave Watson

Musical Director

Heleb Curson

Choreographer

Zoe Bradshaw. Georgia Millan, Phil Ormerod

Report

Author: Susan DuPont

Last year the school learnt to roller skate for ‘Starlight Express’, and this year even the boys overcame the psychological barrier to learn to dance, and I understand a crash 12-week lessons to give an amazing performance.

Once again David Watson and Helen Curson with their team of choreographers Zoe Bradshaw, Georgia Millan, Phil Ormerod, and the four assistant directors got the magic of inspiration and encouragement through to dedicated discipline and energy which sparked the ‘electricity’ of this large cast. (And how excellent the vocal coach for Geordie, Dave Cowie managed to make them sing as well as speak without losing accent.) And it goes without saying that the design and set building, and very slick changes of a difficult set of many changes were excellent and so clever, plus well lit, sound good, and well costumed.

But this is about the huge cast of all ages and what they achieved to portray a difficult social history period, to understand the moods and problems of life in a mining community, the camaraderie and support, plus the family life for Billy, and his venture into dance. The miners and the police in their contretemps worked so well, the numbers of ballet girls in their pink tutus, these big scenes were an opportunity for so many to participate in a very lively production, well-disciplined into huge routines very slickly performed, excellent.

In the title role, Sol Childs (yr 10) must have used amazing energy levels as he acted, sang and danced for Billy, understand he had never done a dance step before and it is incredible how hard he must have worked to achieve this standard, the vocal competence, plus the understanding and interactions for the role with the other characters to give such a convincing performance. And the Elliot Family with father Jackie (Jay Clayton) played with great empathy for the role in his dilemma of mining community and trying to understand a son wanting to dance; and the brother Tony (Josiah Blake) definitely a strong rebel and anti-dance. Grandma from Georgia Marshall-Nichols gives the moments of comedy in her forgetfulness but also the love and tenderness to soften a harsh life, a nice character role. The scenes with vision of Mam (Mia Childs) were very sympathetically realised, and that trio (of the three generations) for the letter brought tears to the eye, beautiful.

In year 8, but a lot of talent, Reuben Elvin as Michael had personality plus vocal and dance skills and comedy timing to watch for the future. Sam Plummer as George came over the harsh line miner who thawed, Georgia Bowden and Joe White had nice cameos later in action. In the dance studio, the pianist/dancer Mr Braithwaite (Zak Barham) came over well and amazed with his dance, and Evie Cork as Debbie had a nice little role of being in the way; but Yasmin Shoukry stole all the dance scenes with her movement and personality and especially those huge vocal skills in putting over the numbers, and the character acting  which is a fabulous role to follow the likes of Julie Walters in the move to inspire dance.

The overall impression to take home is of a stage filled with all those energetic and dancing youngsters singing hard and enjoying theatre. Wonderful!