The touring production at the Opera House does not shy from the sound and fury of living in a strike time; nor does it stint on sentimentality, supplying Billy not only with a feisty granny temporarily rescued from an abusive marriage by dance but also with a singing dead mum, which seems a bit much (even if she did bring a cheap, inadvertent tear to my eye). There is, after all, enough yearning coiled up in Billy himself (sensitively played on opening night by Kylend Hetherington, who alternates with three other boys in the role). Besides, Janet Dickinson's dance teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson, in her phosphorescent leg warmers and prickly coat of toughness, is a mother figure better suited to the communal family of Billy Elliot, riding proudly into obsolescence on hard knocks and tough love.

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