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 Post subject: Road Company Reviews
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:27 pm 
Billy
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:35 am
Posts: 4048
Location: Rochester, NY
Here's a place for reviews of the Road Company production in Williamstown, NJ.


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 Post subject: Re: Road Company Reviews
PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:24 am 
Mr Braithwaite

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:10 am
Posts: 741
Location: Williamstown, NJ
The Road Company, lead by Lauri Hudson and Scott Angehr, has produced a throughly entertaining version of this great show.

Liam Redford is a spectacular Billy. Only 11 years old, he has already won dance championships. His age makes him seem more appropriate for the part rather than older Billys. He allows himself to be a little better in each successive scene until he excites the audience with his Electricity. You can tell that he relates to the story, and Billy’s feelings about dancing.

Noah Hinsdale presents Michael’s character perfectly. With his previous experience, he plays the quirky Michael with a flamboyance that keeps the audience laughing.

Lauri, herself, plays the best Grandma that I have seen since the Broadway production. Her enunciation allows the audience to understand her story that is sometimes lost in other presentations. Her experienced acting gives her the facial expressions that compliment her story. And her dancing is hilarious.

The Ensemble sounded powerful. They conveyed the strength, conviction, and finally the resignation of the defeated miners.

Michael Doheny and Denny Summerville, as Billy’s father and brother, present the hope, grief and frustration of the family, along with their changing attitudes about his future.

And the Ballet Girls are fantastic in their job of comedy relief. Without them, the audience would be depressed with two and one half hours of hopelessness and disappointment.

Finally, everyone participates in The Company Celebration Dance, even Tall Boy(Scott Bonerbo) and Small Boy(Gabriel Romero). They are both good dancers, and Small Boy even does an impressive split at the end.

The admission is inexpensive and the quality is high. I’m going again before the final date of November 4th.


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 Post subject: Re: Road Company Reviews
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:01 am 
Small Boy

Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:05 pm
Posts: 43
First, let’s mention what I did not like about the BETM at the Grand Theater in Williamstown. I did not like the lack of flying! One of the startlingly impressive parts of the Dream Ballet is the graceful flying. I missed it at the last few venues that I attended. Next, I missed the authentic Northeast England accent. In fact, there was very little accent at all. Almost all of the scenes were in American English.
That’s it. I loved everything else. The acting, singing and dancing were of high quality. The small theater is attractive and makes you feel like you are one of the townsfolk. Young Liam, Noah, Scott and Gabriel played their parts perfectly. Kaleigh was the bratty Debbie. The Ballet Girls were all sizes and skills as they were supposed to be, and they played the uncoordinated students. When they were allowed to dance normally, they actually were quite talented. All the adults were strong dancers with good voices and convincing acting skills. The Finale with the entire cast had the whole audience leaving in an upbeat mood. With the exception of my complaints at the beginning, it all could not have been done better.


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 Post subject: Re: Road Company Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:22 pm 
Small Boy

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:26 pm
Posts: 74
Like mad-as-hell, my friend, I missed the flying scene as part of the Dream Ballet. But I did not miss the Geordi accent. I always liked the Musical having a British flavor, but I found the Geordi accent to be almost unintelligible. The Road Company found the perfect mix for the American ear. It’s British without being confusing.
Also, the profanity and vulgarity may not be everybody’s preference, but it added the realism of a working class village. Of course, using only a British-light accent allowed the profanity to be crystal clear to the audience, even when sung. “And when you’re on the picket line, we went and f**ked your missus”. In spite of this, no one I saw was offended.
All the actors spoke clearly and it seemed to help the audience follow along. Billy Elliot is best when the people(including me)do not struggle with understanding the language.
A great show, presented by great people, at a great price.


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 Post subject: Re: Road Company Reviews
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:24 pm 
Small Boy

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:26 pm
Posts: 74
Another change at Williamstown concerns the opening newsreel movie. The original sound quality is quite garbled, and with a thick accent, quite difficult to understand. The Road Company uses the newsreel to explain the violence between the miners and the police, but the sound is clarified and another voice with a light British accent substituted for the original. This works, and the American audience now fully understands that this is not just a normal worker’s strike. I found this to be the best way to start of all the options that I have seen.


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 Post subject: Re: Road Company Reviews
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:37 pm 
Mr Braithwaite

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:10 am
Posts: 741
Location: Williamstown, NJ
I just saw Billy Elliot The Musical by The Road Company for the second time. There will be a third time!
It is obvious that all involved are proud and happy to be part of this presentation. The Company Celebration at the end is truly that. There are no weak spots in this show. Plus, a whole family can enjoy the inspiring play with music for less than $100. Anyone who can should attend and support local theater.


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 Post subject: Re: Road Company Reviews
PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:36 pm 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6778
I was present at last night's show (11/28). Before it began, I had a chance to meet and chat with the Director, Scott Angehr.

The theatre is an intimate but well designed venue that seats 250, on one level. The stage occupies the most of the width of the theatre. The orchestra pit is traditional. No proscenium curtain is evident.

The set is minimalist, almost to the extreme: a rear wall of what appears to be faux corrugated iron; a rolling metal set of tall stairs common in any warehouse; a 'bed' perched above the stairs (no evidence of a bedroom); and two sliding bits of set that comprised an entrance/miners' pit head, and the loo scene. The only other bits are portable: a reduced kitchen; and Michael's closet. A few chairs rounded out the inventory. That is it.

Such simplicity places the onus on the cast to produce stunning show, sans the bells and whistles. In term of 'big numbers', this is certainly the case. Every one: from The Stars Look Down to the Finale, are performed with assured passion that matched my expectation. The voices are powerful and the mics work well in the bright acoustics.

Special credit must be given to the Music Director, Ruslan Odinisov, whose team play flawlessly. One of the best I have heard since Michael Joseph and his orchestra as The Company Theatre. He has done amazing things with the casts' voices, both as soloists and in ensembles, and I can assure everyone that the singing in this show is top class.

Jodi O'Conner (Mrs W.) and the Ballet Girls were very impressive. They smacked Shine out of the ballpark last night. Kaliegh Robinson (Debbie) has a grip on her role and a sense of timing that gives humorous impact to her few lines.

Michael Doherty (Jackie) has a stunning voice, and his rendition of Deep into the Ground' ranks as one of the best. Denny Summerville (Tony) is a loud and abrasive Tony, and bears more than a passing resemblance to Jackie. Lauri Hudson (Grandma) has a fine take on her eponymous song (she is President of the Grand and has directed many shows there). Deena Osmer (Dead Mum) is moving in her interactions with Billy (The Letter was especially so).

The show begins with the usual Pathe newsreel, but voiced over for this production by Michael Biren (2nd National Tour (Swing and Fight Captain), who also helped the cast with the Geordie dialect.

Special mention must go to Gabriel Romero, who not only is a fine Small Boy, but doubles as Posh Boy. Scott Bonerbo doubles as Tall Boy and as part of the Ensemble.

Noah Hinsdale (Michael) (Broadway: Finding Neverland (also as Michael)) proves to be a fine tapper and singer, and last night he won the tap shoe race by a good five seconds (though he definitely cheated!).

Man of the match, by far, has to be awarded to Liam Redford who, at just 11, demonstrates a triple threat talent that could eventually place him among the best Billys to have assumed the role. His Angry Dance and Electricity are very strong. He seems to have a deep understanding of the role's nuances, and I detect more than a few moments that may have been inspired by Elliott Hanna from the 2014 Live dvd. No harm in that! There is no doubt that Liam has a great future, should this role present itself again.

Sometimes these reviews are read by cast and directors. If so, I have two suggestions to make this great local production even greater:

- to Billy and Michael, when performing Expressing Yourself, remind yourselves to 'Smile! Smile! SMILE!'. Enjoy this bit of fun!

-to the cast as a whole: remember that you are delivering a powerful story that needs to be knitted together for the audience. Individual numbers are very strong, but sometimes the story is not told as a whole. Slow down a bit on the dialogue, and tell us the story so that we can enjoy it, too!

I will be returning this afternoon. This theatre and this show deserves to be supported, and the tickets are very reasonably priced.


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 Post subject: Re: Road Company Reviews
PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:25 pm 
Mr Braithwaite

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:10 am
Posts: 741
Location: Williamstown, NJ
Thanks kport for the extensive review. You put more work into the details than my lazy self. Since this is my hometown, I know that some must think that my effusive reviews must be prejudiced. Kport’s review affirms that 11 year old Liam will be among the best anywhere to play Billy. And regional theaters like The Road Company’s Grand Theater will be among the best presentations of BETM anywhere.

Only three more shows left next weekend. Hopefully, Liam, Gabe, Noah, and Scott will be involved in future productions.


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 Post subject: Re: Road Company Reviews
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:24 pm 
Tall Boy

Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:07 am
Posts: 117
I was at the show last night. kport's review from the week before is what prompted the trip. From his review I thought we could see a new Billy in the early stages of what may be a great career. kport was right. This new Billy and this wonderful production were worth the 5-hour drive.

Liam Redford, 11 years old, is this new Billy and here's hoping he does many more regionals because 3 weeks into his Billy career he is already a great one. His Angry Dance ranks up there with Peter Mazerowski and Matthew Dean as the most violent ones I've ever seen. And Liam's Angry Dance is the only one among 80 some Angry Dance's I've seen that had an aerial. I never would have thought to put an aerial in there but it worked nicely. He also did the only aerial I have ever seen in "Dream Ballet". And his Electricity had 3 aerials, 2 of them back-to-back.

His singing and acting are also on the level of a Broadway or Tour or Toronto Billy. The final Road Company show is tonight at 8:00. If possible you shoud make an attempt to see this show. Plenty of good seats remain.


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 Post subject: Re: Road Company Reviews
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:45 pm 
Small Boy

Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:05 pm
Posts: 43
A final word about the lack of scenery at The Grand Theater- there is not much more than the walls, chairs, tables, piano, and rolling warehouse steps.

I saw Billy at the Venice Theater in Florida and the set was almost as impressive as a Broadway production. I enjoyed that but I’m not sure it is necessary. Sometimes the power of imagination enhances a production.

With only the income from 250 seats at The Grand, I’m sure that the budget is tight. I sure appreciated the great seats at only $18, so I will not complain about having to use my imagination.


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