Footloose review (NODA)

Directed by Gary Jarvis and Susan Corina.

Musical Director – Ian Myers

14/6/2017

Based on the 1980’s film, the story tells of the frustrations of Chicago boy Ren McCormack, who loves to dance and how he has to move with his mother Ethel, to the rural township of ‘Bomont’, which no one has ever heard of.  On arrival he finds that following a tragic accident some years earlier, when the son of the Rev Moore’s was killed with three others; dancing is now banned and you are watched by everyone in the town. (Melodic song ‘Somebody’s Eyes’ tells us all about it)

It is always good to see a show or film which I haven’t seen before. Footloose shows the audience how the Reverend Moore (played with feeling by Colin Shoard) struggles with his demons and the ultra-confident new boy Ren McCormack (Jon Newman) complete their journeys of understanding to the final happy conclusions.

Excellent orchestration under the musical direction of Ian Myers and good choreography by Helen Arber, both who worked hard to put this show together with so many scenes. Mae Perrigrew as Ariel, the Rey Moore’s rebellious daughter, had a good understanding of her character, and I enjoyed the duet, ‘Almost Paradise’, with Rem under the moonlight.

The girls Rusty (Alexandra Phillips), Urleen (Nicoa Myers) Wendy-(Kat McKeon)  worked well together and especially Alexandra as Rusty used her fantastic acting skills to show us a bubbly fun loving girl who had an amazing voice and was one of the stand out performances. Her boyfriend Willard (Daniel Schultz) was also superb showing great characterisation with good comic timing.  Excellent thought provoking performances too from the two mothers Ethel (Catherine Gregory) and Vi (Deborah Anderson). Their song with Ariel – Learning to be silent was really emotional.

The cool, bad boy Chuck (Mat Smith) gave us the bully boy from the wrong side of town and really seemed to enjoy the role, especially with the lovely Ariel in her very short shorts!  The rest of the worthy cast gave us a show full of happiness and certainly gave their all. I loved the 80’ hits including ‘Holding out for a hero’, ‘Let’s hear it for the boy’ as well as ‘Footloose’ performed by the whole cast with enthusiasm in the big routines.

The professional scenery made the numerous scene changes – a little slow but full marks to all of the crew for their hard work and I’m sure that they will get quicker as the week progresses. Lighting was also sometimes a problem with actors not finding their light, shadowing and pink lights on legs. Early lighting cues were occasionally slow however considering the short time available to designers/operators prior to the opening night, I’m sure this will become slicker as the week develops.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening and I hope the rest of the run goes well and has such good houses as the first night.