We were delighted to return to London’s West End at the Garrick Theatre to see David Williams’ Billionaire Boy taken to the stage by Birmingham Stage Company.
My daughters are firm fans of all of David Williams’ hilarious books. There is great excitement in our house when a new book is released, hurriedly read, and passed between my three daughters. We have been lucky to be able to see several of his books brought to life by the creative team at Birmingham Stage Company, so had high expectations of this evening, and it did not disappoint.
We took our seats in the theatre, socially distanced from other families and admired the set with anticipation. The opening scene, featuring a mansion mainly constructed from toilet rolls and a gaming station centre stage, hinted of the fun that was to come.
This much-loved story is based around Joe Spud and his father Len, who worked tirelessly in a toilet roll factory before making billions from inventing novel toilet rolls branded ‘Bumfresh’. Despite his new found wealth, Joe is lonely and finding life at his very expensive public school hard. The musical numbers start in the old loo roll factory as dour, hard working, employees make loo roll after loo roll. Once Len launches his new venture the audience get to enjoy the Bumfresh jingle.
Life gets harder for poor Joe when his Dad meets his 27 year younger girlfriend and Joe takes a stand and moves to Ruffington High School, where he tried to hide his wealth from the other pupils. Through an encounter with the school bullies, The Grubs, Joe meets his first true friend Bob, with whom he shares a mutual love of chocolate. Joe tried to stand up to the bullies, but his Dad continues to fail to understand his struggles. This culminates in an exciting scene when Joe’s dad arrives at school in his helicopter and Joe’s cover is blown.
As the story continues, Joe continues to be let down by those around him, including a very amusing dinner lady. Joe tries to hold onto his friendships, but makes mistakes himself along the way, and quickly learns that money can’t buy love or happiness. Finally, following a purple-bum disaster, his Dad also learns some valuable lessons of his own and the pair are reunited in a more simple happiness.
This is certainly a tale with a message, but also a lot of fun and humour as you would expect from David Walliams. My three daughters, aged 11, 9 and 5, absolutely loved the show. They had the added delight of seeing David Williams take to the stage after the performance to thank the wonderful cast and stage company, meet the audience and sign our very well read copy of his brilliant book.
Billionaire Boy is at the Garrick Theatre in London until 22nd August 2021, before launching on a national tour in 2022.
Lucy and her daughters received complimentary tickets to see Billionaire Boy, but all their opinions are their own.