Based on the classic film, this screen-to-stage adaptation of Footloose has plenty of energy and is infectious from beginning to end.
If there is ever a show that celebrates freedom and breaking the rules then this is it. Featuring hit songs such as Holding Out for a Hero, Let’s Hear it for the Boy and the title song, Footloose has plenty to enjoy – not least its infectious choreography and talented cast bringing the story to life.
The story sees city boy Ren and his mum moving to the town of Bomont to start a new life. But as he tries to settle down into the life there, he soon discovers that dancing is banned and so he can’t resist breaking the rules – and neither can the other members of his class.
Racky Plews has created a production which pulsates with energy and the joy of rebellion that really celebrates the message of how we can all change the world if we try, thanks to a supremely talented cast, who not only sing and dance but also play instruments throughout.
Of course, by having a lot of the cast on stage at one time can make Sara Perks’ set design seem a little bit restrictive in terms of movement, but it also conveys just how tight the rules and regulations are for the young people of Bomont desperate to break free.
Leading the cast as Ren McCormack, Joshua Dowen is a fantastic dancer as routines such as ‘I Can’t Stand still’ prove. His characterisation is really raw and poignant as he angrily refers to his father leaving and his struggle to cope as the scene in which Ren confronts Reverend Shaw reveals and is surprisingly poignant.
There is great support from Gareth Gates as Willard – surprisingly funny and sweet throughout. Even if at times some of his mannerisms are slightly over the top, he is always endearing.
Hannah Price as Ariel is equally fiesty and vulnerable, on the one hand wanting her father’s love and approval while rebelling constantly against his suffocating rules. The scene in which she confronts him about his attitude is heartbreaking as is her constant attempts to get him to talk to her as he used to before a tragic accident occurred.
What the production does need is stronger relationships between characters, which feel in places slightly forced and insincere, perhaps down in part to the script which doesn’t always come across as well as it could in terms of conviction. But it is not a show that ever forgets its edginess and coolness, helped by its electrifying soundtrack always keeping the sense of rebellion at the front of the audience’s mind.
Overall, Footloose is engaging and infectious to watch from beginning to end and will delight fans of the film.
Footloose the Musical continues to play at the Peacock Theatre until the 30th September. To book tickets visit: http://lovelondonloveculture.entstix.com/tickets/footloose