| By Jade Ali
Okay, so this probably paints me as an uncultured swine but I’ve never seen the ‘Footloose’ movie … just had to admit that upfront. This may look bad on me, but it made watching ‘Footloose – The Musical’ possibly an even better experience for me. I had no preconceptions except for my love for the awesome song that is ‘Footloose’ by Kenny Loggins. Now, if unlike me, you have seen the movie, and love it (of course), then seeing the musical will surely only increase your love.
A vibrant display of 80s fashion teamed with live on-stage instrumentals, wonderful singing voices all around and not a shoddy American accent to be heard, feels like just the tip of the iceberg of brilliance that is the cast of this stunning musical. Much loved Gareth Gates may be your star quality on this cast bill, but he certainly wasn’t the only one of star quality. Each and every actor gave their all in their performance, showcasing more talent than you would have thought was humanly possible for one person to contain.
The stage of the beautiful Peacock Theatre was efficiently used with a beautiful set design, transitioning without any hiccups for each set change. When there is so much going on on-stage, what with dancing actors swinging around and instruments left, right and centre, there needs to some sort of minimalist approach but nothing was lacking about this set.
Matt Cole’s choreography deserves special props, because surely the message of Footloose is that it’s important to dance. Now, whilst dancing is all about expressing yourself and feeling alive, the choreography for this show was of utmost importance and it didn’t let down. The dances flowed, taking one scene into the next, of course the incredible live music accompanying it, and also expressing all the pent-up rage and hurt that a lot of the teenagers, like Ren and Ariel, would feel.
Speaking of the importance of dance, this is what the story revolves around, and this is the key that opens up so many different layers of the characters. Ren is the main character, a teenager from Chicago who moves to the small town Bomont (population under 20,000 – cleverly shown to us via stage design) where it’s against the law to dance. *Dramatic inhale* Again, I haven’t seen the movie so this was all new to me but whether you have or haven’t, it’s easy to see that it’s a big story and that it would be difficult to capture within the confinement of the stage but whilst (slightly) biased towards the musical, this makes the story even better, and that’s thanks to Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie, who cultivated stage adaptation. Obviously brilliantly brought to life by the amazing actors, especially Ren (Joshua Dowen), Ariel (Hannah Price) and Rev. Shaw Moore (Reuven Gershon) who displayed such strong emotion bringing me almost to tears.
The ’Footloose – The Musical’ 2017 UK tour is whizzing by and you need to cutloose and see this show whilst you can. It is in London until September 30th and then moves onto its final stop in Liverpool (Royal Court Theatre – October 30th - November 3rd). If you want a show that will have you on your feet in standing ovation for approx. five minutes, having a clap/dance along, then this is the show for you,
Footloose Tickets are available here, book now to avoid disappointment.