BILLY Elliot, the story of the boy who swapped boxing for ballet, is a monumental success in its first ever visit to Bristol.

A wonderful blend of comedy and emotion, offering a powerful but enjoyable side to the turmoil of the 1984 miner’s strike, this show has something that can appeal to everyone – with an incredible cast and the classic songs from Elton John and Lee Hall having you tapping your foot along within the first few numbers.

But be warned before considering bringing the whole family, the show does contain a considerable amount of swearing, something however that adds a lot to the character and humour of the production.

The whole cast is fantastic, with captivating performances by the ensemble in portraying the conflicts between miners and police and a fantastic Martin Walsh as Billy’s dad, the miner torn between striking with his friends and coming to terms with supporting his son’s differing interests.

A great contrast in the hard side of the strike being delivered through Billy’s brother Tony, played by Scott Garnham, and Billy’s grandmother’s eccentricity, wonderfully played by Andrea Miller.

But, while the adults do a great job, it is without a doubt that the younger members of the cast that truly steal the show.

Haydn May's portrayal as Billy was truly something special, with progressively improving ballet through the show, mirroring his character’s continual development, also being supported by some incredible tap performances.

The 11-year-old's acting is also top notch, swapping from comedic to emotional moments with great ease as he is torn between revealing his love for dance and dealing with his family’s place in the political crisis they face – on that note, some scenes really make you wonder whether Margaret Thatcher ever saw the production or the film.

May’s chemistry with Henry Farmer as Billy’s best friend Michael, was also very enjoyable, with the pair ushering waves of applause and laughter while experimenting with cross-dressing in “Express Yourself”.

The ensemble of aspiring ballerinas and miner’s children also deliver plenty of laughs and adorable moments with a collective effort well beyond their years.

One of the most surprising and impressive aspects of the production was the entire cast delivering convincing Geordie accents throughout, without setting a foot wrong. So much so that a friend in attendance, originally from Middlesbrough, was adamant that most of the cast had to be northern.

That is not to say that there were no flaws to the production, but to find them you really have to nit-pick. Such as noticing a miner in 1984 walking around with a shopping bag displaying the brand new Co-op food logo and fluffed choreography with a dropped chair in a dream sequence.

One final word of advice - Be prepared when going to this show as the first act, while very enjoyable, is unexpectedly long and you will not get a toilet break for over 90 minutes once the curtain goes up!

A fantastic all-round show, Billy Elliot delivers on all fronts and is a show anyone can enjoy, whether they be ballerina or boxer!

Billy Elliot is at the Bristol Hippodrome from Tuesday, October 25 to Saturday, November 26.