Roger L. Simon

Fiddling at Billy Elliot while Washington burns

I have been taking the weekend in NY to visit family and was finally able to catch that Tony award trap Billy Elliot. Yes, it’s great fun if you can manage to get past the ritual Thatcher-bashing, which resembles Bush-bashing and dominates the beginnings of both acts of the show. In fact, they’ve one-upped the Bush-bashers by floating a Thanksgiving Day Parade-size balloon of a monstrous Lady Thatcher replete with talons over the finale of the opening number of Act II. My eleven-year old daughter asked who it was and I explained it was a very mean lady who maybe wasn’t so bad in the end. (Kidding.)

Anyway, my two or three year belated review: Choreography by Peter Darling – A+, direction by Stephen Daldry – A, book and lyrics by Lee Hall – B and music by Elton John – myeh. (No Crocodile Rock rocking here). What was most interesting was watching the New York audience react approvingly to the silly “Broadway” politics while the real action was going on in DC, largely – scratch that, entirely – behind closed doors. I tried to catch up unsuccessfully during intermission on some iPhone apps and had to call PJTV exec prod Owen Brennan after the show to get the skinny.

I gather the deemy-seamy thing that none of us had ever heard of before failed and the poor Congress critters now actually have to vote in plain view – that is if they vote. Well, we will know Sunday – or we won’t. It could go on for years, for all we know. I mean – why stop now? Why not health care debates until the next millennium? Y3KHC? Can you imagine life without a healthcare debate? We’d all be suffering from healthcare withdrawal. Let’s hope the new bill provides for insurance for Healthcare Debate Withdrawal Syndrome (HDWS). It’s a natural. Are you listening, Henry Waxman? At some point, though, if we’re lucky some patriotic citizen will stand up in the balcony of the House, yell “Basta de Pelosi!” at the top of his lungs, spray the whole place with Botox-laced tear gas and put us all out of our misery. I bet even the Democrats would be grateful. Maybe especially the Democrats.

Meanwhile, see you tomorrow at the healthcare debates.