Friday, February 23

Billionaire Boy – Palace Theatre

When a boy has everything in the world you would think he was the happiest person ever. Gifted 1 million pounds every birthday and a further 100,000 pounds a week for pocket money. He had all the games and consoles you could imagine. What a life Joe Spud (Matthew Gordon) lead. However, poor Joe wanted the one thing that money can’t buy, a true friend. Everyone at his school would tease him because his dad (Matthew Mellalieu) made his billions from selling Bum Fresh toilet rolls, that also had a catchy jingle. Joe decides to go to a state school instead of his very expensive private school, as it was there that he could start a fresh. Because nobody knew him, he could be anybody he wanted and not be asked for money and deal with fake friendships.

Joe Spud loved his new school he met all kinds of people in particular Bob (Jake Lomas) he loved sweets but was often teased by the Grubs who bullied him and indeed most of the school.

When Bob found out about joe’s money, he didn’t care about it because well it’s didn’t matter, he loved Joe for being Joe. There are (of course) set back to the friendship but I will leave you to discover them for yourselves.

On a personal note, I love school dinners, but I think it’s fair to say I’d rather pack my own lunch at this school. Unless your partial to snot porridge or rust jacket potatoes. After lunch Joe is in class realises he forgot his homework, reluctantly calls his dad to bring it but has to bring it within 15 minutes or he is on litter duty according to Mrs Trafe (Emma Matthews).

Photo: Mark Douet

Having not read the book, I was going into this completely open. The special effects were incredible. The set was so simple but effective. I’ve never seen so many toilet rolls. I felt that the show needed more laugh out loud moments. The audio tracks was too loud and missed lines from the actors and sometimes their mic would come on mid speech.

Whilst this show is aimed at families, I felt it was rather short. Each half lasted around 45/50 minutes. The temp could be slowed down and give the audience time to invest in the story and the character Ma that are put on stage before us.

This show was well cast with a mixture of comedy actors who excel at multi rolling. You believed that the small cast on stage was a cast of 20 or 30 because each character portrayed was so different and refreshing to see.

If you come to see the show, be aware that the show starts at 7pm as opposed to the usual shows at Manchester Palace theatre which begin at 730pm and last around 1 hour 50 mins with an interval. But to be perfectly honest I think I’d rather it had no interval and just carried straight through. Understandably though that due to young audience members they need a break because not many children can sit through 90 mins of actual performance. Mind you neither can most adults without getting up to the toilet. This, however, is only my opinion. It is at the Palace theatre until Saturday the 12th of March with good availability. It is definitely worth a watch, but it is something I won’t be rushing back to see in a hurry.

Playing until the 12th March,

Reviewer: Luke Stephenson

Reviewed: 9th March 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★