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Elton Hopes Thatcher Skips ''Billy Elliot''

Monday 5 June 2006 @ 16:50 - GMT

Elton admitted to the Daily Mail that he hopes Mrs.Thatcher never goes to see his award-winning musical BillyElliot, because he worries it would be too cruel for her to bear.

"It would probably be very hurtful to her and I don't think it would do her any good to see it," the entertainer, who composed the show's score, said.

BillyElliot is set against the backdrop of the year-long miners' strike of the early Eighties, a dispute which divided the country and caused much civil unrest.

"We're telling the story from the miners' perspective and Maggie was a very hated person to them," Elton said. "They went through terribly hard times."

One scene has a giant inflatable puppet of the former prime minister looming and bobbing above the stage as a particularly harsh number about Thatcher is sung by the disgruntled miners.

StephenDaldry, the musical's director, also conceded that the picture drawn of Thatcher in BillyElliot is so vicious that he, too, would caution her against attending a performance at the VictoriaPalace (where, interestingly, JohnPrescott has seen the show eight times).

Elton recalled playing the score and singing numbers, from lyrics penned by LeeHall, to friends long before it opened more than a year ago.

"A lot of people said: 'Oh, be careful!' I saw their point, but we were emphatic that the show should side with the miners.

"I think people have seen it and warned Maggie - and I wouldn't want her to get hurt either."

Elton added that the Queen saw it as a birthday treat. "She loved it," he said.

BillyElliotremains the West End's biggest-selling production and a triumph for its creative team.

On the other hand, another of Elton's musicals, Lestat, closed last weekend in New York after 39 performances. 

"You can quote me as saying I'm a bit relieved," he said.

Lately, Elton has been focusing on It's a Boy Thing Thing, which he and David Furnish describe as an ''edgy, genderswopping romantic tale.''

"It's romantic, with some guts," said David, who runs Rocket Films.

It's A Boy Girl Thing stars KevinZegers (who appeared alongside Felicity Huffman in Transamerica) and SamaireArmstrong, with SharonOsbourne as a domestically-challenged mother.