Footloose is based on the beloved 1980s film starring Kevin Bacon.
Ren McCormack (Luke Baker) and his mother Ethel move from the bright lights of Chicago to the sleepy town Bomont, after Ethel's husband, Ren's father leaves them both suddenly.
Ren struggles when he arrives after he discovers that dance- something he is passionate about- is against the law.
As the story progresses he finds out that dance was banned following a tragic accident- where four youths drowned in the nearby river after a night of drinking and partying. Reverend Shaw Moore believes the key to protecting the young people of Bomont is to stop them from engaging in such activities- but Ren is determined to challenge his views and make the town's folk see what they've been missing.
There was no live orchestra- all of the cast could sing, dance and play at least one instrument and the actors' transition from one to the other was seamless, which was something to be admired.
The show boasted many of the classic hits from the era- 'Holding out for a Hero', 'Let's Hear it for the Boy' and of course the title track- 'Footloose', so if you're a fan of the 80s music there are some favourites sprinkled in there for your enjoyment. I have to admit- I had not heard of any of the other songs featured in the performance, so I yearned for some more familiarity.
One of the most iconic scenes from the movie is the one in the warehouse where Kevin Bacon uses dance as a means to release his anger at his father. Sadly, the equivalent scene in the stage production didn't do this justice, which was a little disappointing.
With that said, there were a couple of scenes that particularly stood out for me- namely - 'Learning to be Silent' with Vi (Maureen Nolan), Ethel (Nicky Swift) and Ariel Hannah Price). Stripped back and raw- their harmonies were beautiful and made the theatre fall silent during their performance.
'Holding out for a Hero' by Ariel (Hannah Price), Rusty (Joanna Sawyer), Wendy Jo (Natasha Brown) and Urleen (Miracle Chance) had all the power and presence of the original music video and cranked up the tempo from what had been a fairly gentle ride up until this point. For me- the women outshone the men- they all had strong voices and hit the big notes with confidence and gusto.
In my opinion, Footloose did not translate well from film to stage. The memorable moments were too few and far between which made for a generally unexciting performance. The cast did give it their all and I could not fault them for their enthusiasm- but as a whole it didn't set my world on fire.
I'm glad to have ticked it off my list- but I have no desire to see it again.