Billionaire Boy the Musical
All was fine and dandy in the Spud household thanks to the invention of Len Spud’s new loo roll “Bum Fresh – wet on one side, dry on the other.” The wiping-wonder is an instant hit. Len and his son Joe become overnight billionaires BUT at what cost?
Len’s son had everything money could buy with the exception of love and friendship. He didn’t fit in with the children at public school, so persuades his father to let him attend a local run down, comprehensive school. Joe was played by Ryan Heenan, who as well as possessing a fantastic singing voice, was convincing as the naïve, lonely rich boy who yearned for friendships.
Dean Nolan played Joe’s dad and was true to the character, wearing hideous wigs and ridiculous outfits. An outrageously funny dad, not only dim but incredibly gullible. He believed his wealth could buy happiness so hung out with celebrities, played golf with the rich, bought unnecessary lavish gifts and ate caviar because ‘that’s what rich people do’ …….Yes you get the picture!
At Joe’s new school he sparks up a friendship with Bob. The two characters are like ying and yang but work in harmony with each other which was wonderful to watch. My whole family agreed that Bob, played by Lem Knights, was superb as the ordinary young boy, bullied at school, with very little money and yet had no interest in Joe’s fortune. He also played the part of a cunning, money grabbing old cleaner who was part of a gold-digging gang eager to fleece Len Spud out of as much money as possible. He really was definitely one to watch.
A stand out moment for me was Bob’s mum spending time with Joe in the kitchen whilst her son got on with chores around the house. Being rich, Joe had other people do everything for him and had no idea what chores were, so they sang a beautiful song together and she taught him how to cook. The sad reality for Joe was that his father NEVER had time for him, and that message came through loud and clear during this duet. Sophia Nomvete played Bob’s mum as well as narrating, playing the role of a teacher and a gold-digger. She was outstanding and effortless in the way she switched characters throughout the show. In fact, every member of the cast were.
Gradually Joe’s luck started to change. He was passing exams with top marks at school, he became popular and everyone wanted to be his friend. The icing on the cake was meeting the new girl Lauren at school whom he fell in love with. Sadly, Joe discovers his father had paid Lauren, an actress, to pretend to like him. His father also bought the decrepit headteacher a top of the range motor-bike who in turn rewarded Joe with top marks in exams.
However, Len Spud’s luck and wealth doesn’t last and he is declared bankrupt, but discovers that he has something much more precious than any amount of money – unconditional love for his son.
I felt a little apprehensive about a woman playing the part of the shopkeeper Raj, whose character is well known for selling half eaten chocolate bars and conning people into buying rubbish, but I have to say I was completely wrong because Avita Jay was exceptional as Raj and really engaged with the audience. Avita also played the part of the money grabbing character ‘Sapphire Diamond’ and believe me, she was bang on form being the ditzy women besotted by Len’s money.
I must also give a mention to Eleanor Kane who played Lauren, Jared Leathwood for his role as Dave Grubb and Natalie Morgan
playing Sue Grubb, because they equally gave brilliant performances throughout the show.
The new musical adaptation is based on the bestselling book by David Walliams and is a treat for the whole family. I for one came away feeling so happy. It was a truly entertaining performance and it really isn’t a cliché; money cannot buy happiness!
Billionaire Boy the Musical plays at the New Theatre from Tuesday 26 February until Saturday 2 March 2019.
Tickets are available from the Box Office on (029) 2087 8889 and newtheatrecardiff.co.uk.
Adapted by Jon Brittain from the book by David Walliams
Music by Miranda Cooper and Nick Coler
A Nuffield Southampton Theatres in association with Belgrade Theatre Coventry Production
Directed by Luke Sheppard; Musical Supervisor and Co-Orchestrator: Ben Holder
Set and Costume Design: Gabriella Slade; Lighting Design: Nic Farman
Sound Design: Paul Gatehouse; Choreographer: Tom Jackson Greaves