Billionaire Boy

The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham


David Walliams has come a long way since his early days as one half of the Little Britain duo. Transitioning to a children’s book writer at the age of 37, his skills in understanding an audience were well honed.

Even down to the employment of Quentin Blake, the illustrator for Roahl Dahl’s books, giving his writing the look of something that is well known even if the content is slightly less original.

There are probably writers out there shaking their fist at his success but there is no doubt that children love them. Of course, there’s a healthy dose of toilet humour to snigger at which will always get them laughing, but in the end Billionaire Boy and its morality tale is pretty black and white.

There is something of the old school days Billy Bunter about all of this. The school bullies are after the `larger boys‘ chocolate, and of course they in turn are useless at sports, being ridiculed for being last in the school race. There is even a tuck shop here selling horrible treats.

The plot is pretty straightforward. Joe Spud is a 12 year old mega rich kid, as his dad has cleaned up in the toilet roll industry. Somehow his mum has left, but Joe seems unperturbed by this as although Dad has turned into an ageing playboy, he now has everything in the world he could wish for except that is a real friend.


Money it seems is ruining his social life as everyone in his world are out for their share as soon as they find out he’s got it. In search of that one true companion Joe opts out his expensive private school and joins the local comprehensive and instantly teams up with another outcast lad, Bob.

Everything’s going well till Joe himself is smitten with the cool hip hop antics of another pupil leaving poor old Bob behind. However Joe eventually comes to his senses and repents his own indulgent ways. When his dad finally faces financial ruin and is left penniless then the family happiness finally arrives.

The saving grace of this adaption by Director Neal Foster is the superb cast and stage design that pours every ounce of their craft and skill into this very enjoyable show. With everyone doubling up as several characters, Emma Matthews shines as mainly Mrs Trafe, the tuck shop lady, creating a laugh so surpassingly loud in one audience member it knocked her off her script. Jason Furnival revels to in his multi roles that of Dad, chasing the young girls with his wad of cash, and one goofy half of the school bullies.

Local lad Matthew Gordon plays Joe and kept his level of wide eyed sincerity throughout every scene at fever pitch. Davy Bell does a nice job of Bob the hapless yet lovable friend. Aosaf Afzal got some hefty laughs out of the young audience with his exaggerated complaints of his purple rear condition.

With its foot tapping crazy songs and slick toilet roll set, Billionaire Boy is packed with entertainment even if the realities of the issues at hand have been reduced to the obvious.

Off course we all know money can’t buy you love but having none doesn’t exactly achieve that either for this social media driven generation.

Billionaire Boy is a reflection and tale of a simpler time that’s wrapped up in Walliam’s clear cut entertaining formulae and fills a much needed gap in children’s theatre. To 23-11-19

Jeff Grant


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