As the West End production of Billy Elliot came to the end of a 10-year run at the Victoria Palace in April – only closing due to its imminent refurbishment – a large-scale UK tour got underway. Every now and again a totally unique musical comes along that almost belongs in a genre totally on its own – and Billy Elliot is one such show. Stephen Daldry's production of Elton John and Lee Hall's musical is based on the non-musical film starring Jamie Bell and Julie Walters. Musicalizing an already good film and transferring it to the stage has given it even more depth and emotion – and Stephen Darling's choreography knits the whole together and is an integral part of the audience's Billy experience.

The main theme of Billy Elliot is, of course, of a young boy who discovers that he can express himself through dance in a way that he has never experienced before. But the social, historic and economic backdrop of the early 1980s setting in the bitter Miners' Strike of 1984 provides a wealth of themes and experiences. This is a close-knit community torn apart – police and government are the enemy, and fellow strikers who return to work are socially excommunicated. Billy's miner father is struggling as a sole parent to keep his family together following the death of Billy's mother, who appears in Billy's mind throughout, supporting him and giving the type of kind, practical reminders that Mums are good at. Billy's eccentric, pasty-loving grandmother is throwing off the shackles of a long, unhappy marriage in widowhood and just having fun, while his brother struggles to avoid the temptation of violence and thuggery in a desperate society and situation.

Those of us lucky enough to have benefitted from amazing teachers can truly empathise with the central theme of local dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson who tries to help her young protege. Billy is a child with real talent which he can't recognise for himself and knows nothing about – despite the aggro she gets from his family, Mrs Wilkinson acts – as all the best teachers do – for the benefit of the child, to develop him. Poignantly, she knows when Billy goes for an audition for the Royal Ballet School that he'll spend the next three years undoing the wrong things she's taught him, because "that's just the way it is".

Elton John's music is a fusion of different styles – from music hall to rock and folk tunes. The best numbers are still 'Electricity' – that moment when Billy is asked what dance means to him, with the solo dance that follows uniquely tailored to the strengths of the young lad playing Billy; Mrs Wilkinson's life-affirming 'Born to boogie' and ‘Solidarity’. The latter is during one of the miners’ strike scenes which remain very powerful – when they realise the strike is over and they have lost, poignant lines predict the closure of the mines over the next ten years and mass unemployment. This is real life depicted on stage – it’s a snapshot of social history for those too young to remember it and a bleak reminder of the human cost of the conflict to the rest of us. I still find the Maggie Thatcher number a bit too near the knuckle for comfort, but it is a reminder in these Brexit days of how high feelings are in society when politics spills over into everyday life.

Amongst the adult cast, Annette McLaughlin strikes just the right balance as Mrs Wilkinson, such a crucial role in this piece. Martin Walsh makes the most of Billy’s Dad too, who realises ‘He Could Be A Star’. The night I attended, Matthew Lyons – one of the four boys playing Billy – was on, and gave the role the right amount of bewilderment and cheeky charm, coupled with those incredible dance routines that leave the audience incredulous. It’s a ‘catch your breath’ moment during the sequence where Luke Cinque-White’s Older Billy helps his younger self ‘fly’. One of the many joys of Billy Elliot is Billy’s ability to accept others for who they are – his crossdressing friend Michael (Henry Farmer) shares a hilarious number ‘Expressing Yourself’ as he does just that. It’s this juxtaposition of emotions from laughter to tears and back again that defines this musical masterpiece which forever continues to ‘Shine’.