Vibrant, lively, and uplifting, Footloose is a celebration of music and dancing. The excellent cast sing, dance, and act their way through the play, right to the uplifting conclusion of the narrative – standing (dancing!) ovation and all.
Based on the classic 1984 film, Footloose follows the story of Ren McCormack, a music-loving newcomer from Chicago, who is shocked to discover that he has just moved to a town where rock music and dancing have both been declared illegal. A misfit in Bomont, Ren attempts to change minds and hearts, and bring joy back into the lives of those in the town. He tries to do this both through his love of dance, his newfound love for Ariel (the reverend’s daughter) and his new friend Willard. A musical with a didactic message, the conclusion of the play brings the previous issues to rest as the older members of the town rediscover their love of dance. Residents of Bomont come to learn that they can deal with their grief not by shutting down, but by embracing life and enjoying the pleasures that can be brought back into their town with just a bit of music.
Footloose hails from the West End and has already completed two successful tours. This production has a critically acclaimed cast, starring Jake Quickenden (Dancing on Ice, Hollyoaks, Dreamboys, Hair, Peter Pan a Musical Adventure) as Willard, and Darren Day (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Grease, Mame, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Summer Holiday) as Reverend Moore. Other standout performances come from Joshua Hawkins as Ren, and Lucy Munden as Ariel, the cast giving new life to this much-loved story.
With explosive modern choreography by Matt Cole and fantastic set design by Sara Perks this production is bursting with energy and animation. Also noteworthy, this classic hit is updated by its costume design as this production of Footloose features everything from Ariel’s red cowboy boots to Willard’s sparkly micro-shorts. This production enhances the original storyline, and further brings life to the stage.
The use of musical instruments by the cast, integrating the band into the onstage action, cements the role of the music as a key part of the drama, intertwined with the acting to create the overall atmosphere of the musical. Equally as impressive as their acting skills, every performer was playing an instrument- saxophones and guitars are played while roller skating, and jumping a skipping rope! Featuring the hugely popular songs ‘Holding Out for a Hero’, ‘Almost Paradise’, ‘Let’s Hear It for the Boy’, and the title track ‘Footloose’, this musical brings the audience to their feet, brightening days and bringing smiles to faces.
Written by Hannah Shakespeare
Footloose is on at the Theatre Royal in York from 29 March 2022 until 2 April 2022, before the production’s tour continues elsewhere.