Reviewed by Amanda Gazzard
This is a must for any fans of the David Walliams books. It is no surprise that Billionaire Boy has been made into a stage production and it did not lose any of the rebellious style and quirky characters.
From the opening scene you are introduced to Joe Spud who at 12-years-old is the wealthiest boy in the whole country. He has everything money can buy from owning two pet crocodiles, his own sports car oh and don’t forget his £100,000 a week pocket money, we can only dream! But even after all of that and more or Joe wants is to have a friend. The story unfolds when Joe leaves his private school to attend the local comprehensive and the challenges, he faces with keeping his identity hidden.
Joe (Matthew Gordon) was brilliant throughout and was a very convincing teenager, Bob (Davy Bell) portrayed his character perfectly and as this was his professional debut he is truly set for bigger things, Dad (Jason Furnival) was funny and it was obvious he was no stranger to the stage, Raj (Aosaf Afzal) in my opinion was better than the original character from the film, Sapphire (Mared Lewis) the shameless gold digger, Mrs Trafe (Emma Matthews) the weird and wacky cook, Jayden (Bernard Mensah) the fake pupil and Joe Sangha all played key roles throughout but at the same time played multiple roles which were executed perfectly. Considering there were only 8 members of the cast they all played various roles at different times throughout the performance from backing cast, teachers and even removal men. The costumes were changed each time, so you never got confused who was what, successful and brilliant!
The staging was designed perfectly and with simple changes the scenes always changed, admittedly it did get some getting used to in the beginning but after a while it all clicks into space and I was wondering what could possibly be behind that box next. (Not giving anything away)
Neal Foster at Birmingham Stage Company has truly brought Billionaire Boy to life and has recreated a colourful adaptation of the book with a few songs thrown in for great measure. The moral of the story is about love and friendship.
My ten year old son has read Billionaire Boy several times and watched the film numerous times, in his words “It was brilliant, I loved every second of it, yes it was different to the book and film but I think it came into its own as it was slightly different to the book and film but it worked perfectly. I loved the helicopter”.
All in all, this is a great show to take the family to watch from the young to the old.
A very deserving 5 out of 5 stars.
To avoid driving around looking for a parking space the easiest place to park for free after 6pm is the sea front. It’s only a short walk up the steps to the theatre.
The theatre has a varied range of confectionery and beverages to purchase before, during and following the performance.
Tickets cost from £19 to £24.50 (booking fees may apply). Group discounts for family and school bookings.
Billionaire Boy is at the Cliffs Pavilion from 23-26 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit southendtheatres.org.uk or call the box office on 01702 351135.
Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7RA | 01702 351135