Billy Elliot Live from the West End – Cineworld Leigh

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We love the theatre here at Mumsnet Wigan and Salford but being so far from the bright lights of London’s West End it can sometimes be a problem to find the time to get up to London to see our favourite shows and when you do you often need transport, hotels and extra costs associated with eating out and the inevitable shopping trips!

Theatre live at your local cinema opens up shows to a new audience, those who may have never been to a West End show, for who the costs or journey may have been previously something they were unable to consider or simply those who thought musicals were not for them and who might give it a try on a local evening out with friends or family.

Cineworld Leigh is in the centre of town and a short walking distance from the main shopping area and bus station.
It has seven screen, disabled access, disabled toilets and baby changing. The cinema sells a massive selection of sweets, snacks food, ice-cream and more lately a small selection of alcohol. When ever we have been the venue has been spotless and staff helpful and friendly. Recently they have introduced reserved seating, there has been mixed views on this but it does make it easier if you mind where you sit or you are in a big group to book in advance and know you can sit together.

Arriving for the theatre live event felt different from the normal cinema experience, there was a small red carpet area and staff greeting you at the screen door and a small program was handed to attendees. Within the screen there was just what you would expect at the theatre, sellers of icecream and snacks were available.

The actual show itself was fantastic, despite being a live link across the UK and several parts of the world there were very few blips and the sound quality was wonderful.

Billy Elliot is set in a North East Village during the crippling miners strikes of 1984-85. It is a true and raw representation of the hardship the miners and their families went through in an era where times and industry where changing and the working class were being hit the hardest by this, it is utterly heart wrenching at times but it is not all gloom, with music written by Elton John it is also as you would expect very very flamboyant, sometimes completely crazy and provides many many laughs. 11 year old Liverpool Boy Elliot Hanna was breath taking as Billy and the emotional performance of Deka Walmsley as Dad was beautiful and heartbreaking in equal measures.

There is a LOT of swearing in the musical but lets not forget this was a northern mining town in a dark period of time struggling to live and feed their families and is mostly in context. There were many small children in the screening and if you can see past the swearing it is a wonderful, vibrant and colourful show which children will love.

While it would not stop us from visiting the West End and seeing shows live it was such a pleasure to walk out of the theatre and be two minutes from home without having to trek across London or spend hours on the train and like a film it is nice to see these shows more than once, often you see things you missed first time round as so many things are happening on the stage at one time, for that reason we would love to see more of the main West End shows following the same path and from what we have seen in the press the one screening beat many headline films in box office takings last weekend so it would seem many more would agree!

Cineworld Leigh also provide Movies for Junior from £1 (if booked online) showing favourite children’s movies and Cine Babies which allows parents with babies under 18 months to see the latest movies with the sound and lights slightly dipped.

See website for details. http://www.cineworld.co.uk/cinemas/leigh

Billy Elliot the Musical will be available on DVD from November the 24th.

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