Liverpool Empire Theatre – until Saturday 18th June 2022
Reviewed by Carla Whittaker
Last night myself and my 11 year old son had the pleasure of seeing Billionaire Boy live at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. Wow, what can we say other than David Walliams has done it again with this fabulous production of Billionaire Boy (we have previously had the pleasure of watching Grandpa’s Great Escape in 2019).
It’s fair to state that David Walliams is a legend in story writing particularly for my son’s age as was Roald Dahl when I was little, and his books for years have engaged my son and developed his love of reading. Similarly, to his books and TV productions, this show really does provide you with nearly 2 hours of entertainment, filled with fun and laughs.
As with David Walliams books and TV productions, I knew that we were in for an entertaining night filled with fun and laughter. Prior to the show starting the theatre was filled with eager children waiting patiently for the show to start and an atmosphere of excitement filled the room.
Billionaire Boy tells the story of Joe Spud (played by Matthew Gordon) the richest twelve-year-old in the country. Joe has absolutely everything he could want, his own car, extravagant gifts, 2 pet crocodiles, private education, and endless amounts of money. However, all’s Joe wants is a friend (like all 12-year-old children!). In haste, Joe thinks the answer to this is leaving private education and going to the local comp, however there are things that Joe has not thought through, and Joe is taught a lesson that money is not everything, and money doesn’t necessarily bring happiness.
Joe’s dad is Len (played by Matthew Mellalieu) who made his millions by creating Bum Fresh (toilet roll that is moist on one side and dry on the other). Len throws money around like it really does grow on trees, and although Joe is embarrassed by this it’s fair to say that he has caught a few bad ways off his dad along the way. Joe and Len need to learn that money does not solve everything and not everything can be bought before it is too late.
Joe navigates the tale well and shares great chemistry with Jake Lomas who plays his loyal best friend Bob. The rest of the cast were very talented working relentlessly to play different roles exceptionally well. My favourite was Emma Williams who was hilarious, with over the top comedy value playing Mrs Trafe the school cook who makes deliciously disgusting food. Rosie Coles plays the part of Len’s gold digging girlfriend very well with cockney humour. A favourite of my son was Tuhin Chisti who played Raj the shop keeper who features in many of David Walliams stories.
The set was cleverly created with a tower of toilet rolls as Bum Fresh Towers which emerged into other scenes as needed. Choreography and music was fitting to the story and engaged all the audience.
If you are looking for a feel good, family friendly show then I would definitely recommend Billionaire Boy. Not only did it provide lots of laugh out loud moments with audience participation being encouraged it also told tale with a meaning; that money is not everything, and sometimes all you need is a friend, and your family! In the words of my son ‘it was great!’.
Billionaire Boy is showing at the Liverpool Empire Theatre until Saturday 18th June 2022.