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Theater review: 'Billy Elliot the Musical'

Billy Elliot the Musical is a top-notch production that combines gutsy, forthright British storytelling; Elton John’s unique musical stylings (he wrote the score); and coherently addressed political and social themes – notably, an antipathy toward Margaret Thatcher’s union busting of the early 80s. In one of the more striking scenes, Billy's friend, a gay boy, dresses himself and Billy up in an older sister’s clothing.  A dance spectacle ensues.

The show was created for an adult audience, but there are many children in the production and, of course, Billy is a child, opening the door for consideration as a family entertainment.  My companion and I thought that, even with the appealing element of child actors, the show would be best for ages 14 or so and older.

Consider this before buying your tickets:  Adult language is used, adult themes are invoked, and the production is lengthy -- it started at 7:30 p.m. and let out about 11 p.m. That said, it is amazing to see the children in this production perform, and there must be a story in the caretaking and teaching of these kids while on the road.

Billy Elliot the Musical runs through April 3 at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle. Tickets are $22-$80.

--Guest reviewer Paul K.

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