Review, ‘Billy Elliot’ – Peter Wilkins

12 April 2024

Review by Peter Wilkins appeared in Canberra Critics Circle blog on 12 April 2024. Excerpts below.

Take a producer with an instinct for success, a director with vision, musical directors with passion, and a choreographer with imagination and flair, and you have a hit on your hands. Add to this the talented cast, musicians and creatives and Free-Rain Theatre’s Billy Elliot The Musical  playing at the Q Theatre in Queanbeyan becomes a smash hit.

Peter Wilkins

From the opening scene in the county hall, designed by Dr Cate Clelland with meticulous attention to working class authenticity, director Jarrad West creates an immediate sense of community as the stage bursts into life. West imbues the production with dramatic force. Michelle Heine’s choreography is spirited and inventive.

Tchaikovsky’s Dream Ballet from Swan Lake, magically danced and flown with aerial grace by Billy (Fergus Paterson) in a pas de deux with Older Billy (Australian Ballet School graduate Jordan Dwight) is one of the most magical moments in a show that abounds with imagination and theatrical inspiration.

Hall and John have created a musical that demands authenticity, conviction and passion. Free-Rain Theatre’s company of cast and creatives delivers this in spades. … Lee Hall and Elton John’s musical is grit and grime with the promise of hope and salvation. At times it sparkles and shines. At other times it tugs at the heartstrings and brings forth the tears. You will laugh and cry and delight at Free-Rain Theatre’s  Billy Elliot The Musical. Don’t miss it.