Billy Elliot – in Erkel Theater, musical in HU with EN subtitles
I have to admit at the very beginning that I don’t like musicals, but I got a ticket as a gift and I am always open to change my opinion about something especially when it comes to theater, so I watched Billy Elliot in Erkel Theater. (More or less) promising cast, music by Sir Elton John, children and experienced director – one cannot always aim for catharsis, right?
It is respectable that a theater takes the risk to have a child as the protagonist. It must be very difficult to find children who can sing, dance, act and are available. And if it wasn’t challenging enough, they become too old for the role and have to be replaced once they finally gain enough experience. However, having children on stage for sure makes the audience less demanding. If it is a child, being not totally perfect is much more acceptable. Áron Vizlendvai as Billy Elliot really tries his best and wins our sympathy but he is like a nerd adult. Somehow lacking the charm of a child. Yes, Billy has a tough life, his mother died, lives with his strict father and grandma, forced to do boxing even though he wants to dance ballet. He has a dream which is against everything his environment believes in and supports but at the end reaches his goal and succeeds. But he should still remain a child. Unlike him, his friend Michael (Dávid Borka) is a real comedian, makes everyone smile right after appearing on the stage even though his life is definitely not easier.
The play is indeed very spectacular. Sets change quickly, actors and dancers are accurate and except for the scenes at Billy’s home, there are always many of them present. Everything is perfectly designed. There are entertaining, funny, visually impressive and moving parts. There must be a scheme which makes sure that even the sceptical one with some critical attitude is touched at one point. And then again. Oops. I could have felt manipulated, but I decided to rather enjoy the play. I let go the thought that singing miners cannot be taken seriously especially when they wear a tutu, that I didn’t find the music catchy at all, that the huge gestures which are probably needed in this big theater are sometimes ridiculous from the first row. I focused on what I liked: the scene from Swan lake with adult ballet dancers, the lovely dancer children and all in all the professionalism of everyone on stage.