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Music Review

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Billy the Kid
A New Musical
Commissioned and Performed by the National Youth Music Theatre


Music: Ben Frost
Lyrics: Richard Hough
Performed by: Ben Lewis, Aliyah Odoffin, Fraser Jacobs, Josh Barnett, Rosy Smith and Ben Moss
Label: Auburn Jam Records
Release Date: 11 April 2018

Auburn Jam Records and National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT) release the Live Cast Recording of Billy The Kid: A New Musical by Ben Frost and Richard Hough. Commissioned and developed by NYMT, this production was performed at The Leicester Curve in August 2017. William Antrim is small for his age; he’s quiet and shy, which makes him an easy target for lazy bullies. But in his dreams, he's Billy the Kid, a courageous cowboy, riding the range with the sun in his eyes. An all-American hero. Now, if only his dreams could become a reality...

Being a NYMT production and with all the musicians and performers being young adults, I'm not going to be as cutting in my review as I would have if this had been an adult production. But I will start off with the negative aspects that made it hard to enjoy this as much as I wanted to...

Firstly the acting is pretty poor, the singing is not great (for the most part) and the instruments don't always seem to be in tune with each other. Normally, that would be unforgivable in an adult production... and for an organisation that has the words "Music Theatre" in its title it's not really good enough.

Now, to be fair, the part of Billy is played by 12 year old Ben Lewis and the fact he knows his lines proves the dedication and enthusiasm he has for the medium. All the performers and musicians are leaps and bounds ahead of their non-musical peers and they can only go from strength to strength.

Likewise, the musicians will grow and get better and this production will have been a huge learning curve for all of them, not to mention giving them the confidence to perform in other production in later life.

The musical itself has some catchy numbers ('Stand' being the standout theme), a great story and is sure to appeal to both the young and young at heart. But parts of the plot are hard to follow. Thankfully there's a synopsis on the official website ( which fills out the main story (most of the main story was pretty easy to follow anyway) but there are quite a few instances where there's noises, but no explanation of what on earth is happening.

Sadly though, the negative aspects I mentioned at the start of this review make it a little hard to enjoy this production.


Nick Smithson

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