Reviewed by Deborah Mackenzie
Billionaire Boy is an adaption of the third book of David Walliams; the UK’s biggest-selling author in 2017 and 2018. Neal Foster from Birmingham Stage Company adapted and directed the show, after previous productions of Gangsta Granny and Awful Aunty. Fans of the books will not be disappointed, and it is a great show for the whole family. It is noteworthy that it has an age guidance of five plus; which I agree with as there are some risqué jokes during the show.
A twelve-year-old Joe Spud (Matthew Gordon) is Billionaire Boy, a very lonely boy whose father (Jason Furnival) had made his fortune in a special type of toilet roll, Bum Fresh. He has everything money can buy, and his father seems to answer everything with giving him money. It’s Joe’s birthday and his father gives him yet another cheque, but he tells his father that all he wants is his time and a friend.
In Joe’s bid to find a friend, he begs his father to take him out of the private snobby school, where all the other children look down on him because of how his father made his money (we have a lot of ‘Bum’ names given to him) and let him go to the local school. Joe want to go incognito and not wanting to be the ‘rich boy’ and be liked for himself. On his first day he meets Bob (Davy Bell) who is everyone’s target to bully. But Joe oversteps the boundaries of friendship when he pays off the bullies and Bob finds out. His secret is let out of the bag when he has to get his homework to his teacher in 15 minutes, he contacts his father who arrives by helicopter. Now everyone knows he is the ‘poor little rich boy’. After getting his essay to his teacher 5 seconds late he is given litter duty, and in anger Bob and Joe have a falling out.
It appears to Joe as if everything is going wrong, his father has a new girlfriend who only has money in her eyes. His father had hired an actor to be the new kid at school and be friends with him. So, he runs away and is found in the bin by the local shop; the shop keeper Raj tells him to go to Bob’s home and apologise. They hear the news that Mr Spud has lost his fortune, and everyone is suing him because BumFresh is making everyone’s bum go purple. Joe who is at Bob’s house finds out that his mother went to school with his dad and she came to their rescue, inviting them for a really good shepherd’s pie. In time, Joe and Bob become brothers when their parents marry.
The show is filled with bum jokes and others that describe gross bodily functions, even to one scene in the bathroom where Joe is on the toilet! The songs are fun and centred around the storyline. I particularly enjoyed the teachers and all parents can relate to ‘don’t run, walk!’ and various other sayings. The tunes were catchy and often toes would tap along, they. A very fast paced show that kept the young man with us totally engrossed and laughing at the jokes that were really aimed at children.
The ingenious set was a huge castle type house build out of toilet rolls that opened and closed as each set changed. With quick changes of props being moved on and off stage and doors opening and being closed to put you in that particular scene.
Billionaire Boy is a story filled with morals, real life situations and values that we all can learn from. It would appeal to children as they could put themselves in some of the situations. A truly enchanting and fun evening of entertainment.
Tickets cost from £13 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Billionaire Boy is at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow from 15-19 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/kings or call the box office on 0844 871 7648.
King’s Theatre, 297 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JN | 0844 871 7648