Wednesday 7 December 2016

'Years of experience in ballet means nothing next to the young stars of Billy Elliot musical'

Published 20/08/2016 | 18:56

The cast of Billy Elliot are half-way through six weeks of Dublin shows, so we caught up with them to see how they’re enjoying the city and what it’s like to take to the stage.

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“Dublin is amazing!” exclaimed Matthew Lyons and Henry Farmer, who star in Billy Elliot: The Musical as Billy and Michael respectively.

Matthew Lyons and Henry Farmer star in Billy Elliot: The Musical.
Matthew Lyons and Henry Farmer star in Billy Elliot: The Musical.

The two boys were set the task of teaching me a few dance moves from the musical, which is physically and mentally demanding.

Full of energy, Matthew and Henry took to the stage and I was handed a pair of dancing shoes to put on – something I haven’t done for five years.

Twelve years of experience as a ballet dancer meant nothing to me as I stood alongside the two boys, who I had seen tap their feet and dance without a thought.

“You’ve to bend your back, bend your knees and move your arms and legs,” Henry told me, his feet fluttering on the wooden stage.

Matthew Lyons and Henry Farmer star in Billy Elliot: The Musical.
Matthew Lyons and Henry Farmer star in Billy Elliot: The Musical.

They broke down the moves step-by-step as I tried to follow along (mostly to no avail.) Then they stepped things up a notch and started going faster, and I honestly couldn’t keep up.

After a couple of attempts, the boys showed me how the sequence is supposed to look.

Even without music I was blown away by the talent of the clearly dedicated performers.

Despite not being able to keep up, Henry and Matthew gave me a 10/10 as a first-timer, which I was very impressed with (although I’m not sure whether they were being overly kind.)

The two boys have been travelling with the cast since February, and said that they miss their families but love visiting new cities. Although they hold roles that most could only dream of, the boys say their favourite thing to do to relax is sit in their rooms and play games - some things never change. 

Billy Elliot: The Musical is in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre until 3 September. Prices start at €35.

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