With more and more children seeing unrealistic standards and unattainable wealth on social media, David Walliam’s Billionaire Boy – which is coming to Aberdeen’s HMT – seems more relevant now than ever.
The 2010 book as well as the 2022 Oliver-nominated West End show follow Joe Spud – a 12-year-old boy who happens to be the richest child in the country.
While he can brag about his sports car, two pet crocodiles and getting £100,000 a week as his pocket money, what Joe doesn’t have is a friend. Therefore, he persuades his dad to send him to a local comprehensive school, but things don’t go as smoothly as he’d hoped.
“I think the family show is more relevant now,” said Matthew Gordon who plays Joe, in the current UK tour of the show, which arrives at His Majesty’s next week.
“Children – well, all of us – are so obsessed with social media and material goods. A child wouldn’t be too mistaken to think that the world seems to revolve around success and fortune and it’s the things that you really want.”
Billionaire Boy is more relevant now than ever
The popular family show, created by producers of Gangsta Granny – another of David Walliams’ books and plays – received its West End premiere last summer, more than a decade after the book was published.
A lot has changed since then – which only makes the moral of the story more important.
A number of recent studies have shown that social media usage can increase the risk of loneliness and anxiety. And it’s only natural that when children see “perfection” online, they can’t help but want to emulate it.
Matthew added: “It’s a shame, really, because it’s the connection to other people that is the reassuring value in life. And I think this story reminds of that and tells young children that’s really what they should be treasuring because money and fame are superficial.”
Nominated for Olivier Award
But speaking of fame, Matthew admitted rubbing shoulders with celebrities – including Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley – at the Olivier Awards ceremony was something he “didn’t know how to process”.
“It was one of those things that we didn’t think was going to happen (the show being nominated).
“I went to the event with the show’s director (Neal Foster) and of course, you just see these famous faces sitting around you.”
But working on Billionaire Boy kept him grounded.
He said: “It was an honour in a sense to sort of be held up there with the ‘best of’ theatre’ in the land. After years of doing the show, it was nice to say ‘ok, that’s a real mark of what we had done’.”
Aberdeen families will love Billionaire Boy
While Billionaire Boy is aimed at children, Matthew is sure their parents, grandparents and other adult audience members will have a great time, too.
“Actually, often the adults are surprised by how much they enjoy it,” said Matthew.
“I think they think it’s just for the children, but it’s a real family show. There’s music and there are some jokes for the kids, some for the adults – there’s something for everybody to enjoy.”
This will be the talented actor’s first time visiting Aberdeen – something he’s really looking forward to.
“Before doing this tour, I didn’t get to see a lot of the country,” said Matthew.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing Aberdeen.”
Billionaire Boy is at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen from Wednesday August 10 to Saturday August 13. Tickets can be purchased here.
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