Monday, February 6, 2017


              Kaden Hinkle

    Coal can turn to diamonds.

     Dear reader, I must tell you at the get go that this review is going to be a long list of plaudits for an incredible show.  If you’re looking for something to make you feel lighter and more exhilarated than you have for a long time, see Billy Elliot at Vintage Theatre.
      Billy Elliot, the Musical” is based upon the 2000 film in which a young boy who wishes to dance struggles against his father’s wish that he become a boxer. The backdrop is that of the coal miners’ strike in County Durham in the northeast of Maggie Thatcher’s England in 1984.
     With music by Elton John and lyrics by Lee Hall, the show won ten Tony Awards including Best Musical  in 2009.
     Inspiration and heartbreak walk hand in hand in this rousing and exuberant production.
      In this reviewer’s experience, it has been rare in these last 20 years that an opening night for a musical production of this magnitude has come off so seamlessly. The actors were more than ready in large part due to the professional aplomb and artistic skills of director Bernie Cardell, who has cast the show to perfection.
     Kaden Hinkle is a triple threat performer. Mr. Hinkle gives us a Billy who goes from shy and vulnerable boy in nowhere Northern England to a young man that’s just been accepted into the Royal Academy of Ballet in London. Exceptional throughout, his rendition of “Electricity” and dancing of “Angry Dance” are unforgettable.
     Andy Anderson has risen to new heights in his acting career with his portrayal of Billy’s bullying blue collar Dad. His song recalling Billy’s mother’s burial, “Deep into the Ground,” is profoundly moving.
     As Billy’s grandma, Deborah Persoff creates a lovably irascible character who’s slipping in and out of lucidity as she rages at the memory of an abusive husband, while punctuating her regrets with the memories of the good times when he and she were dancing at the pub.
     After an absence that has been far too long, Adrianne Hampton returns to the stage as Mrs. Wilkinson, the dance instructor who discovers Billy.
    Becca Farrell Fletcher delivers a very fine performance in the role of Billy’s dead Mom.
     Benjamin Dienstfrey’s performance as Michael, Billy’s cross-dressing friend, is revelatory.
   Brian Robertson gives a focused strength to Billy’s older brother Tony as he struggles to keep the family together.
     Eddie Schumacher plays multiple roles with panache.
     Kris Graves is hilarious as Mr. Braithwaite.
       Touching and inspirational, this is an evening of theatre everyone should see.
     Music Direction by Blake Nawa’a stuns!
     Christopher Waller’s intentionally self-effacing grey scenic design allows the characters to really pop!
     The choreography is superbly done by Gina Eslinger and Andrew Bates.
     The juxtaposition of the striking miners resisting the police with a children’s dance class and the dream ballet danced by Billy and his future self (Will Treat) are two of the masterfully choreographed scenes.
     Susan Rahmsdorff’s costume design is spot on.
       Steve Tangedal creates evocative moods with his lighting.

      Highly recommended.
                          Marlowe's Musings 

 “Billy Elliot the Musical” February 3 – March 19
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun. at 2:30 p.m
Tickets are $28 - $34 
Online at or 303-856-7830. 
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010.

No comments:

Post a Comment