BILLY ELLIOT is set in a Northern England and is surrounded by events of the 1984 UK coal miners' strike. Billy lives in one of the small communities whose livelihood depends on the coal mining industry and is threatened by the proposed closures by the government. His family is a father, an older brother, both coal miners entrenched in the strike, and a grandmother slowly drifting into dementia all broken not only by the strike but also by the death of their matriarch.
Billy also draws much from other figures in his life. This is where the musical succeeds and the film failed. Previously vapid characters here serve as a genuine influence on Billy
to pursue his unlikely dream.
Elton John's music is memorable without being flashy. It is understated but plays with great effect within the context of the show. There are no real pop-darlings as you might expect, no vocal powerhouses and that's just fine. Instead, the music serves to enrich the story and its characters and performers take several numbers to show-stopping levels.