Footloose The Musical review by Tanya Mancini
Footloose and fancy free…
I SUSPECT not many words are needed when describing Footloose The Musical, an adaptation of the hit 80’s film. But, what makes the musical stand out is the use of actor musicians, where the whole cast share playing the score live on stage which truly makes for a vibrant show, full of energy and passion, how music should be heard and felt.
Joshua Dowan steps into the shoes of the young Kevin Bacon and dons an incredible portrayal of Ren, combining his frustration, emotion and dance moves which draw all the attention to him, making the character his own.
Ren leaves Chicago a troubled teen, only to find the small town he now calls home has banned Rock music and dancing. As Ren struggles to fit in he ends up finding himself standing up to the town council and Reverend to lift the law and allow a school dance.
The show is captivating as a strong cast superbly acts out the rebellion and romance of the story and of course its fantastic recognisable song list, lifts the spirit and draws you in to all the emotions.
A favourable song has to be ‘Holding out for a Hero’ powerfully song by Hannah Price aka Ariel. I have to confess, here I joined the Gareth Gates fan club. I will not spoil this for you but it’s a pretty good scene!
Pop Idol star Gareth Gates stars as Willard and has the character down to a tee. He is so charismatic and funny. The track ‘Let’s hear it for the boy’ sees Ren teaching Willard how to dance and it’s here Gareth shines and you realise just how great he has made this role.
Another star that cannot go unmentioned is Maureen Nolan, who has the most amazing silky smooth voice and highlights the emotions of the struggle and suffering of the town’s people to perfection.
As the show ends the audience is invited to stand and it’s certainly impossible to resist jumping up and dancing, joining in with the cast as they celebrate and close with a medley of hit songs.
It’s an amazing entertaining production and full credit to the whole cast I thoroughly recommend seeing it.
I left with my daughter buzzing from the great night we had shared together, enjoying a fantastic trip to the Theatre. Then came home to the harrowing news of the events in Manchester.
These people had just been on a night out, enjoying themselves as we were. You can’t help but stop and think about how we go on after events like this. I feel in life you always seem to connect to and draw on what’s current in life. As I reflected on the shows story, how they had tried to survive the death of four teens by banning music and dancing, in a desperate bid to protect their young, and how this led to suppressing emotions. It suddenly felt all too raw and real. In a strange way I feel there is a lesson here. It really is a poignant story of cutting loose and allowing yourself to enjoy life and we cannot just stop and shut down. We still have to live.
So ‘kick of your shoes and cut loose’ keep dancing your own dance. Carry on going to shows, evenings out in the city and doing what you love. My love and thoughts are with you Manchester.
Footloose The Musical at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch until Saturday 27 May. If you can’t catch it here it’s on tour and will be back in Essex at Towngate Theatre, Basildon in August.
For more information on the Footloose The Musical tour visit: