There’s no doubting that hit musical Billy Elliot is a show that pulls on the heart-strings – and the Manchester premiere of the show had a host of stars delivering their highest praise.
For after the red carpet launch of the show at the Palace Theatre on Wednesday night, stars were left gushing about the production, which our reviewer also gave five stars .
Coronation Street star Antony Cotton could not praise the show enough, urging fans to “beg, borrow or steal” to bag a ticket while the first ever touring production is here in Manchester.
He said on Twitter: “Just got home from @BillyElliotUK opening night @PalaceAndOpera. Buy, beg or steal a ticket! Made me laugh and cry. The kids are amazing!”.
Former Corrie star Denise Welch has a long association with the show, with ex-husband Tim Healy having starred in the original West End run of the musical, based on the hit 2000 film.
Indeed, she revealed it was her 19th TIME at the show – but she still loved it when she headed along on Wednesday with husband Lincoln Townley and her youngest son Louis.
She said: “It’s the 19th time I’ve seen it in 11 years as I’ve always had family or friends in it in town.
“I love it as much now as when I first saw it!
“It is the best musical I have ever seen bar none. Cried again, laughed again and felt proud to be a Geordie lass.”
A1 heart-throb Ben Adams, who will star in the Opera House’s pantomime of Aladdin later this month headed along with his panto co-star Claire-Marie Hall and tweeted: “OMG Billy Elliot was incredible.”
Rugby star Keegan Hirst hailed it the “best thing he’d ever seen” urging fans to go and see it for themselves.
Glamour girl Rhian Sugden headed to the show with her actor beau Oliver Mellor and said simply, “well, that was brilliant”.
Also heading along to the opening night were Key 103 DJ Mike Toolan, Coronation Street’s Faye Brookes and show newcomer Rob Mallard.
The show, about a young boy’s dream to become a ballet dancer during the bleak days of the 1984-1985 miners’ strike, has won rave reviews since starting life as musical in the West End 10 years ago with a score by pop legend Elton John.
The opening night in Manchester won a standing ovation – with huge cheers for Lewis Smallman in the leading role as Billy.
It is here in Manchester for a full winter run at the Palace Theatre, with shows until January 28, 2017.