It is currently Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:12 am

All times are UTC


Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Forum Rules



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3
  Print view Previous topic | Next topic 
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Porchlight Reviews
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:56 am 
Small Boy

Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:05 pm
Posts: 43
I think that it is great that Porchlight is extending its run, but I have to comment on their narrow-minded recommendation that the show is for children older than 13. What world is the puritanical management living in? Kids are hearing and using all the words in the show on a daily basis by 9 to 10 years of age. It’s not just the hypocrisy but the fact that the show has the ability to change the lives of young people, motivate them, strengthen them against bullies, and maybe even save some lives. For certain kids, seeing this show can be a life-changing event. It is extremely harmful to be so narrow-minded by ignoring reality.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Porchlight Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:43 am 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6778
Quote:
PORCHLIGHT’S “BILLY ELLIOT” IS PURE ELECTRICITY


http://showbizchicago.com/2017/11/05/po ... ectricity/


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Porchlight Reviews
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:29 am 
Audience Member

Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:24 pm
Posts: 9
I saw the shows on Oct. 28, and I thought I would share my views from the perspective of someone who has seen Billy Elliot the Musical many many times (multiple times in London, New York, Chicago, US Tour, Cardiff, as well as regional and community theater productions).

First of all, I was excited to see yet another production of BETM in the Chicago area. When I heard that the production lasts 2 1/2 hours, I was curious how they would cut down a production that ran nearly 3 hours in Chicago, NY, etc. by a whole half hour, and I was a bit worried what numbers they would cut. I was relieved to find that none of the musical numbers were cut. Rather, a lot of the time efficiency seems to come from much faster transitions from one scene to the next.

The Porchlight Theater is a wonderful space for this musical (at least as far as I could tell from the ground level seats; I don't know what the balcony seats are like). The theater is quite small and the space is very intimate. The stage is quite low, not elevated relative to the seats (only about a foot off the ground); and from my seat in the front row, I could almost touch the stage. There is no orchestra pit between the audience and the stage; instead, the orchestra performs behind the stage.

A few other differences that I noticed (***spoiler alert***):

At the beginning of the musical, there is no small boy. Instead, one of the miners turns on a radio, which provides a very brief intro to the miner's current situation. This leads right into "The Stars Look Down". However, small boy does appear during this song and performs his usual routine after that point.

What is also different and interesting compared to all the other performances I've seen is that Tall Boy and Posh Boy are played by different actors. In addition, both actors who play Billy are on stage for The Stars Look Down, MCMT, and the Finale, with the alternate Billy just being a character in the background without any lines. It's nice to see them all get involved.

What I also really appreciated about this production is that all of the swear words are the same as in the London recording and not "cleaned up" as I have seen in so many US productions. So if you are sensitive to foul language, be forewarned. Personally, I think it adds authenticity to the story.

Both of the actors playing Billy, Lincoln Seymour and Jacob Kaiser, are great and a joy to watch. Their dancing is less technical than the larger productions (London, NY, Chicago), but very graceful. Their singing was wonderful, and their acting was outstanding! They both filled the room with their personalities.

One change from all the other productions I've seen that I felt was a bit missing was that there was no tap dancing in "Angry Dance," but perhaps that was just a different artistic vision. A new feature that I thought was really powerful in this routine was towards the end, Dad and Tony appear illuminated in archways that are in the back of the stage, as Billy is expressing his anger towards them and at the current situation. During the final scream of Angry Dance, we see Billy's Mom illuminated briefly in the archway at the back of the stage (having replaced Dad), stretching out her hand towards Billy as he stretches his hand out towards her; and then all goes black and the scene ends. What a powerful last image!

Both Shanésia Davis as Mrs. Wilkinson and Princess Isis Z. Lang as Debbie were spot on. Adam Fane as Tony was absolutely phenomenal! His performance as Tony is one of the best I have ever seen in all of viewings of BETM - he wasn't just acting Tony, he was Tony, expressing raw emotion particularly during "He Could Be a Star" and before "Once we were Kings".

One final difference (and perhaps funny blooper) I observed is that during one of the 2 shows I watched, the salt/pepper shaker to prop the letter up against during the "post" scene didn't seem to have made it onto the table. Instead, Tony at first propped it up with his hand, then just let the letter lie on the table, and Billy just picked it up from the table and read the address/name out loud with it in his hands. If that wasn't planned, kudos to the actors because it looked like that was how the scene was supposed to go. I also loved Lincoln's acting at this part where he reads "William Elliot is queer" and then lowers the letter and rolls his eyes as if saying "not again" before being corrected. Great acting!

The show’s “Finale,” with tap dancing, had the audience on their feet to applaud this show with a standing ovation.

Overall a wonderful performance.

-MusicalFan


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Porchlight Reviews
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:45 pm 
Site Moderator
Billy
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:05 am
Posts: 3696
Location: Malverne (Long Island), NY
MusicalFan wrote:
A new feature that I thought was really powerful in this routine was towards the end, Dad and Tony appear illuminated in archways that are in the back of the stage, as Billy is expressing his anger towards them and at the current situation. During the final scream of Angry Dance, we see Billy's Mom illuminated briefly in the archway at the back of the stage (having replaced Dad), stretching out her hand towards Billy as he stretches his hand out towards her; and then all goes black and the scene ends. What a powerful last image!


Loved this review from start to finish. Thank you! And wow, this scene above does sound very cool!

-Sean

_________________

"Good writers define reality; bad ones merely restate it." -Edward Albee


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Porchlight Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:48 am 
Dad

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:05 am
Posts: 1641
Location: Kansas City, USA
I had the pleasure of seeing two performances of the Porchlight Theater production of this show in Chicago yesterday. I agree with everything mentioned in the fine review by Musical Fan. This is a very entertaining production with a very talented cast. I really liked the intimacy of the theater and the close proximity to the stage.

They took good advantage of this proximity by bringing the show as close to the audience as probably any other Billy Elliot production I've seen. On multiple occasions, the cast was right on the front of the stage, and in "Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher," a number of them sat on the edge of the stage facing the audience and sang, literally about 3 feet from the people in the front row. I happened to have one of those front row seats, and the three cast members sitting directly in front of me singing right to me were the two Billys (one was an ensemble member) and Michael. It was kind of humorous, and a little embarrassing, but really did serve to make you feel like you were a part of the show. In "Angry Dance," Billy comes down off the stage at one point and goes a few rows down the center aisle as he performs.

Speaking of "Angry Dance," I also missed the tap dancing, as well as the inventive lighting, the Margaret Thatcher video projected onto the riot shields, and the big sound that was possible in London and on Broadway. I think this number - more than any others in the show - is probably the hardest to transfer to a community theater production. At least both the Billys I saw (Lincoln Seymour in the afternoon show and Jacob Kaiser in the evening show) gave an energetic, angry performance with lots of screams and violent movements, which made up a lot for some of the missing aspects that I love about this scene.

My only other bit of constructive criticism is that after 5 weeks of performances, I'm surprised the director hasn't been able to coax the young actor playing Michael to slow down a bit and enunciate his line delivery, and to pull out the comic elements of his character. Lines that always get a big laugh, such as "It's f***ing weird if you ask me" and "Me dad does it all the time" and "No one will notice" (if he wears the tutu home) were lost on about 90% of the audience, as only a couple of random chuckles were heard from those audience members who understood what was said. The humorous exchanges between Jackie Elliot and the Scottish dancer were also removed (there was no discomfort shown by Jackie with the dancer's cod piece, for example) as their scene is played more as a serious conversation about Jackie giving support to his boy.

That aside, this is an excellent production with two very talented Billys. I really liked how during the Finale, both Billys and Michael get an extended dance at front and center stage, with the Billy who was "off" that particular show (playing an ensemble member) gesturing to the actor playing Billy to get the audience to applaud for him, as if to say, "Wasn't my friend great as Billy ? Let's hear it for him !" Special mention goes to Shanesia Davis as Mrs. Wilkinson, who lit up the stage as if she was on loan from a Broadway company. She had a big voice and was excellent in all aspects of her acting. This is a company who has obviously become very close to each other and love performing together. You can definitely see it in the numbers like "Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher" and the Finale, as they kid around and laugh with each other. Their love of performing this show and their love for each other is contagious, and helps make for a great night of theater.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  



Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
bmiles v1.1 desgined by CodeMiles Team -TemplatesDragon-.