Following the success of the award-winning ‘Gangsta Granny’ in 2017, Birmingham Stage Company are back in the West End with the stage premiere of David Walliams’ 2010 children’s book, ‘Billionaire Boy’.
What do you give your son for his twelfth birthday when you’re a billionaire? Well, last year Joe Spud, son of the toilet paper inventor of ‘Bum Fresh’ was given a million pounds and so this year it should probably be two million. But what Joe Spud really wants, is some quality time with his father.
Billionaire Boy tells the story of the richest boy in the country. He has his own sports car, £100k a week pocket money and two crocodiles as pets. But what Joe doesn’t have is a friend. So he decides to leave his posh school and start at the local comprehensive. But things don’t go as planned for Joe and life becomes a rollercoaster as he tries to find what money can’t buy.
It’s a fun show which manages to keep the children in the audience entertained for the entirety. There is a helicopter that rivals ‘Miss Saigon’ and a panto-esq song reminiscent of ‘If I Were Not Upon The Stage’.
Matthew Gordon is perfect as the lost and lonely soul that is Joe. Desperate to have a friend who sees him for who he is and not for the money in his bank account. Benedict Martin (also known as one half of the Horrible Histories duo) plays the role of Dad well, a man consumed by his fortune and struggling to keep in touch with reality. Emma Matthews is phenomenal as school tuck shop lunch lady, Mrs Trafe, creating all manner of bizarre concoctions that none of the children want to eat. Matthew Chase is great as the school geek but really comes in to his own in act 2 as the new boy in school, Jayden. Rosie Coles is one to watch out for in the future, she smashes all of her roles in the show, showing real versatility from school girl to WAG wannabe Sapphire. Jake Loman is warm and friendly in his portrayal of Bob and Irfan Damani is a great addition to the ensemble cast.
Billionaire Boy is a great choice to take the kids to see this Summer. We never find out where those Crocodiles went and the ending left a few questions for me but it was thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended.
Reviewed by West End Wilma