Thanks a billion! Page to stage show was 'priceless as true friendship'

Billionaire Boy 2022 by Birmingham Stage Company (photo: Mark Douet)
Billionaire Boy 2022 by Birmingham Stage Company (photo: Mark Douet)

Thea @ the Theatre introduces our teen show critic, Bradford Alhambra's Billionaire Boy reviewed by Thea Sharpe

David Walliams' hit children’s book, brought to the stage by Neal Foster, is a fun, energy charged 90-minute play with a good flow and steady pace.

Billionaire Boy Live on Stage 2022 (photo:Mark Douet)

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    The page to stage production tells the tale of the son of a toilet roll magnate who struggles to make new friends at his new school while being accosted over his family fortunes.

    What followed was a helter skelter laugh-a-minute fast paced ride. I was out of breath just watching it!

    Billionaire Boy takes to the stage (photo: Mark Douet)

    But the energy of the show didn't miss how hurtful kids and adults can be, whether intentionally or not.

    A good night out for all the family, with the focus being on younger audience members, you can enjoy the production aimed at under 13s with a few adult gags thrown in by way of Carry On-esque tongue in cheek catchphrases.

    Minimal sets and clever use of stacked toilet rolls was particularly creative with different scenes being transformed by something so simple as boxes stacked up gave the perfect imagery of the Bum Fresh empire.

    Welcome to Bum Air - part of the Billionaire Boy story (photo: Mark Douet)

    My brother gave me a running narrative of who was who and what was what.

    And, because he had just finished this book, I felt it a good opportunity for him to see the difference between page and stage and how both interpretations could show the moral narrative in different ways.

    Aside from the content and flow of the story, Billionaire Boy was a lot of fun. The show was good with the writer's narrative being brought to life by a faithful adaptation.

    Billionaire Boy school dinner scene (photo: Mark Douet)

    Although fans of the book will be able to note the change from Lauren, the cool girl, to Jaden, the cool kid.

    Interaction from the audience and musical numbers had families joining in and being involved with Joe Spud's journey to finding happiness money can't buy.

    Even in this day and age it is worth its weight in gold. Or, to quote my bro, the show was "priceless like a true friendship".

    A feel-good tale with a good moral compass, Billionaire Boy's focus on the importance of friendship, was indeed priceless.