4-9 July 2016
Reviewed by Catherine Brown
Fans of the 1980s film Footloose will be sure to appreciate the stage version, currently at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham. Anyone who enjoys rock’n’roll music, comedy and dancing should definitely go and see this feel-good show.
The theatre is easily accessible by car or train and has plenty of parking nearby. We were welcomed into the bar before the show, which is a beautiful room to relax with a drink and chat to friends. It was possible to pre-order drinks for the interval using a phone app and there was a range of merchandise available in the main foyer.
The story begins when teenager Ren (Luke Baker) moves from Chicago to the small town of Bomont. He struggles to fit in and things get even worse when he discovers that dancing is banned. Ren develops a friendship with preacher’s daughter Ariel (Hannah Price) and along with another group of frustrated teenagers they vow to return dance to the town.
Issues such as independence and abandonment are dealt with sensitively. The serious issues are accompanied by lots of comedy moments – particularly from Ren’s friend Willard who for our show was performed brilliantly by understudy Luke Thornton (usually Gareth Gates). Other noteworthy cast members included Ariel’s parents played by Maureen Nolan (Vi Moore) and Nigel Lister (Rev. Shaw Moore).
The cast play a variety of instruments which intertwine well with the staging. The voices of the lead roles complement each other well, I found myself tapping my toes and clapping along to favourite tunes including ‘Holding out for a hero’ and ‘Let’s hear it for the boy’. Dean Pitchford wrote the original screen play and this adaptation for the stage is just as captivating as the original film.
I found the show mesmerising from start to finish and the quality of the performances, both acting and musically was excellent. The energy and passion in the show left everyone with a smile on their face and most of the audience were up dancing by the time it came to the finale song ‘Footloose’. I would certainly give this entertaining show a 5/5 rating.
Tickets cost from £17.90 to £51.90 (plus £4 transaction fee).
Footloose The Musical is at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham until 9 July 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3011.
New Alexandra Theatre, Suffolk Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 4DS