Theater review: 'Billy Elliot' from Florida Theatrical Association
February 15, 2012|By Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel Theater Critic
Everyone loves the idea of being true to oneself, no matter the naysayers. And everyone loves an underdog.
So it's easy to root for the character of Billy Elliot — a young boy from a rough-and-tumble British mining town caught up in the economic turmoil of the early 1980s when all he wants to do is dance.
Kylend Hetherington in "Billy Elliot: The Musical." (Kyle Froman)
It's not so easy, though, to root for the musical adaptation of the heartwarming 2000 film of the same name. Lee Hall's book creates a meandering and repetitious show that clocks in at almost three hours long. Elton John's music is by and large forgettable, although many numbers work within the context of the visuals on stage.
It's those visuals that provide the highlights of the production: Billy's exuberant dance in "Electricity," a clever use of shadows in Rick Fisher's lighting design, a touching, dreamlike pas de deux between young Billy and his older self.
The role of Billy is shared by four actors; on opening night, Kylend Hetherington gave the title character an appealing softer edge than sometimes seen but found aggression in his dancing.
In a standout, tear-jerking scene, Billy shares a letter that his mom wrote to him before her death with his chain-smoking, sharp-tongued dance teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson (Leah Hocking).
Both Hocking and Cynthia Darlow, as Billy's addled grandmother, shine in the humorous aspects of their characterizations. But the underlying feeling of being trapped by their circumstances — as opposed to Billy's escape through dance — is muted.
As Billy's brother Tony, Cullen R. Titmas hits more emotional notes, reacting with fury to his younger sibling's dreams while showing that under the rage is jealousy and disappointment over his own bleak future.
Tony's future is bleak because he, like the brothers' dad and virtually every working man in their town, is a coal miner. Margaret Thatcher, then British prime minister, had threatened to close the mines, prompting a union-led strike. You don't have to understand 30-year-oldU.K.politics to appreciate this framework — when the townspeople mock Thatcher, just imagine any politician you oppose and you'll see the humor.
There are, however, definitely some lost-in-translation bits — references to a "fortnight in Majorca" (a popular British vacation spot) or a joke about being born in Leeds don't register in the same way here. And the northern English "Geordie" accents can get in the way of comprehension.
Maybe in this age of layoffs and downsizing, we've grown numb to the plight of a ragtag band of coal miners from another time and place. Luckily, the thrill of dancing and dreaming remains universal.
• What: A Broadway Across America tour of 'Billy Elliot,' presented by Florida Theatrical Association
• Length: 2:55 including intermission
• Where: Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St., Orlando
• When: 8 p.m. today-Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday
• Tickets: $35.50-$80.50
• Call: 407-246-4262
• Online: BroadwayOrlando.com
Adele: "Elton John and John Mayer Helped Me Through Recovery"
15th February 2012, 17:18
The 'Rolling In The Deep' singer says she cried a lot after learning her vocal chords needed to be repaired.
Adele has explained the circumstances that led to her to having surgery on her vocal chords last year.
The 'Someone Like You' singer was forced to undergo laser microsurgery towards the end of 2011 to repair damage on her vocal chords, and has revealed she was given advice by several big singers throughout her recovery.
"I've had a sort throat here and there, had a cold and sung through it, but that day it just went while I was onstage in Paris. It was literally like someone had pulled a curtain over it," Adele told US Vogue this month.
Adele explained that after being diagnosed with acute laryngitis in early 2011 she recovered, but in May 2011 suffered a further set-back.
"That was a hemorrhage, a burst blood vessel on my vocal chord," she continued. "That healed, I did a tour, and then it happened again at my best friend's wedding on October 1.
"I knew my voice was in trouble, and obviously I cried a lot. But crying is really bad for your vocal chords too!"
Adele said singers including John Mayer and Elton John reached out to her after hearing about the surgery to help her deal with the situation.
She added: "Lots of artist have had problems with their voices, but you don't know about it. And they are still singing incredibly well in their 50s and 60s."
Adele picked up six awards at the 2012 Grammys on Sunday (12th February) and has since described the event as the "most incredible" night of her life.
Sir Elton John's 1965 Jaguar E-Type Roadster Up For Sale
By Monami Thakur | February 15, 2012 4:52 AM GMT
A red 1965 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 4.2-Litre Roadster that belonged to Sir Elton John is one of the highlights of the Collectors' Motor Cars and Automobilia sale, taking place at Bonhams Oxford on March.3, 2012.
Estimated to sell for £50,000-70,000 the car was bought by Sir Elton in 1987. According to his fleet manager, Sir Elton and his staff referred to the E-Type as "OK Elton" due to its number plate OKE 1, which was worn throughout his ownership and is sold with the car.
The car itself is described as "sleek, racy, elegant and sporty" and was actually a successor to the XK Jaguar and has been touted as the best E-Type of all.
Apart from this, a 1961 Morgan Plus 4 Supersports High Line will also be offered in the Bonhams sale, estimated to sell for £55,000 - 65,000. The Line has been owned from new by the Vought Family, renowned for their pioneering work and engineering in the aviation industry and of Vought Corsair fame. It has undergone a £100,000 restoration and is now finished in the Corsair livery of Blue and Yellow.
Further highlights include a recent barn discovery, a 1961 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2, estimated to sell for £40,000 - 60,000 and a 1966 Citroën DS21 Décapotable. Estimated to sell for £36,000 - 42,000, the Citroën Décapotable has been in current ownership for 68 years and is one of only 50 right-hand drive examples delivered to the UK between 1962 and 1966.
In 1968 it was bought by the current owner, Joe Judt, who has been an active member of the Citroën Car Club since the 1950s, served as the Chairman and is now the Club's honorary president
Super for Elton John AIDS Foundation
By special invitation, Super have created a ’spectacle’ in Elton John’s signature style with astonishing artesan and skill. Our People silhouette is hand-covered in fine Italian leather, juxtaposed with a unique Carl Zeiss electric blue faded lens, created especially for this project. The soft yet sturdy matte silver arms complete the piece, and carry the signature RSF Limited Edition mark on one arm and the Elton John for EJAF description on the other.
Elton John plans more stops on world tour
Story by Tara Hall
SoundSpike Senior Writer
Published February 15, 2012 05:49 AM
Legendary performer Elton John has scheduled more performances on his in-progress international trek which takes place between multi-night Las Vegas residencies.
The singer/pianist will take on his "Million Dollar Piano" shows at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas tonight (2/14) through the weekend (2/16-2/18) before heading down to Mexico for a couple of performances.
Since last check, an additional 11 shows are now on the itinerary, including seven Midwest cities and three Canadian gigs. The tour ventures through multiple countries throughout South America, Europe and Asia.
Information about tickets for the international run are available now at the icon's website.
John's touring band, featuring guitarist Davey Johnstone, bassist Bob Birch, percussionist John Mahon, drummer Nigel Olsson, keyboardist Kim Bullard and percussionist Ray Cooper, will help the iconic musician perform hits for his 43-year discography.
In October 2010, John released "The Union," a collaborative album with Leon Russell. The Grammy-nominated effort peaked at No. 3 on The Billboard 200.
On Sunday (2/12) at his Las Vegas performance at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, John dedicated "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" to the late Whitney Houston, who was found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel room Saturday (2/11).