David Walliams talks about BILLIONAIRE BOY THE MUSICAL, wacky inventions and what he would do with a Billion pounds
The smash-hit show BILLIONAIRE BOY THE MUSICAL, based on the book by David Walliams, comes to The Lowry this February half-term. Ahead of the show’s arrival, Walliams talks about the musical, wacky inventions and what he would do with a Billion pounds!
BILLIONAIRE BOY THE MUSICAL begins when factory-worker Len Spud and his son Joe become overnight billionaires, due to Mr Spud’s revolutionary loo roll invention ‘Bum Fresh’. The show opens on a standout musical number, telling the audience just how rich Joe Spud is!
‘He’s got five hundred pairs of trainers, one hundred inch TVs, one hundred thousand pounds a week to spend on shopping sprees…he’s got it all!’
‘Billionaire Boy is about a boy who’s got everything he could ever dream of’ Walliams says, ‘But he doesn’t have a friend. The story is his journey to realising that money isn’t important and that there are other ways to be happy.’
How does Walliams feel about the story bursting from the page onto the stage?
‘Thrilled. I actually love it when my books are adapted and become something completely new. I had a lot of fun creating this world, the super-rich boy who’s got a waterslide going from his bedroom down into his swimming pool. It’s a big wish fulfilment fantasy!’
Were there any challenges bringing it to life?
‘I would say the scale of the book is the main challenge for any adaptation. It is huge. Joe is a billionaire and we really need to get a sense of that. That is very hard to do on stage! But I went on the first night and I was absolutely blown away.’
Walliams’ novels have been adapted for stage and television before, but this is his first work to be turned into a musical. Walliams himself saw the show during its run in Southampton and called it ‘an absolute smash-hit’.
‘I was watching it thinking wow I’m laughing, I’m crying. Who came up with this story? It was me! But these guys have taken my book and turned it into something absolutely winning and beautiful and funny and incredible,’ Walliams says, ‘I am absolutely gobsmacked at how brilliant this show has turned out!’
BILLIONAIRE BOY THE MUSICAL features an all singing, all dancing cast of 10 with live music played by onstage musicians.
‘There was so much more to it,’ says Walliams ‘They’d added loads of jokes, and the songs completely lift the whole thing. I am not at all musical so I am in total awe of the songwriter, singers and musicians.’
18 brand new songs have been created for the musical, written by Miranda Cooper and Nick Coler, the team behind multiple UK Top 10 hits for Girls Aloud, The Sugababes, Kylie and more. In fact, Cooper’s songs have spent more years on the UK chart than any other female songwriter in history.
‘I thought the songs were fantastic,’ Walliams says.
As well as large musical numbers, the show brings the wacky inventions from Walliams’ book to life, including ‘Bum Fresh’ and the newly introduced ‘RajMobile’. Does Walliams have any more genius inventions up his sleeve?
‘No,’ he says, ‘but I think that a toilet roll that is dry on one side and wet on the other is complete genius! It is the best idea I have ever had. Someone needs to manufacture it, and pay me a penny per bottom wiped.’
Apart from belly’s hurting from laughter, what are audiences going to take away from the show?
‘That there are more important things in life that money and fame,’ Walliams says, ‘I think I wrote the book when I was really falling out of love with the idea of being famous. All that really matters is that you are loved and love in return.’
When asked what he would spend a billion pounds on Walliams doesn’t have to think. ‘Cake,’ he says, ‘Obviously.’
BILLIONAIRE BOY THE MUSICAL is playing at The Lowry from Thu 14 – Sun 17 February 2019
Donna is the Founder and Editor of Frankly, My Dear UK. By day, she works as a digital marketing specialist, by night she reviews film, theatre and music for a wide range of publications including WhatsonStage and The Reviews Hub. Loves Formula 1, prosecco and life.