Last night I got to head back in time to relive the 80s and the legend that was Footloose. Now if you are a child of the 80s you will know the impact Footloose had? Also how the world fell in love with Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer. The music was epic, the story brooding, I still love it today. Thus it was interesting to compare it to the Footloose Uk Tour showing at the Palace Theatre Manchester.
Footloose is loosely based on the real life story of the town of Elmore City, Oklahoma. Where the towns reverend banned dancing in 1898 in an attempt to decrease the amount of heavy drinking. This was finally overturned in February 1980, when the junior class of Elmore City’s high school made national news when they requested permission to hold a junior prom.
I have to start by saying I wasn’t feeling it for the first 10-15 minutes it felt a bit disjointed. However Footloose is a grower, it took me a bit of time to gel with the characters, but once I did I was in.
What Is Footloose About?
When Ren McCormack (Joshua Hawkins) and his Mom Ethel (Geri Allen) move from Chicago to Bomont, a sleepy American suburb. Where due to a horrific accident that resulted in 4 teens losing their lives, dancing was banned.
The McCormack’s moved to start a new life after Ethels husband left the family, however instantly felt the restraints and judgments of small town life and attitudes.
The town is ruled by the Vicar Rev. Shaw Moore (Darren Day) who is terrified of releasing his control of Bomont, however is also battling with his rebel daughter Ariel (Lucy Munden) who because of the restrictions, wants nothing more that to get out of town, live life and have fun.
Ren befriends local Willard Hewitt (Jake Quickenden), starts to fall for Ariel and life begins to feel exciting. Teens who have been terrified of the wrath of god start to realise there actually could be a chance to life life, be teens and have fun. As a result Ren decides it’s time to bring dancing back to town and starts a campaign to do so.
My Review, The Footloose UK Tour?
Like I previously said, I spent the first 10-15 minutes thinking it wasn’t for me, but I don’t think I had given footloose a fair chance. This is one of those shows where you need to allow yourself to gel with the characters.
Ren came into his own as his relationships bloomed with Ariel, Rusty (Ooonagh Cox) and Willard. They really gelled and made the story come alive. I think the thing I loved was that the show had a comedy element, this just worked. It’s a tough story to tell without a bit of humour.
Also the comedy moments made you fall in love with Willard and Rusty, whilst Ren and Ariel kept a more serious side of the story. This worked together well to give the perfect balance.
The cast were super talented many playing instruments, acting and moving the sets as the story flowed. I mean how do you play a clarinet, deliver lines, then move part of the set? But they did it with style and worked so well.
The power numbers created immense energy and a wonderful vibe, which initiated rapturous applause by the audience. The Footloose cast built the energy throughout, which had you rooting for the characters and victory.
Would I Recommend Footloose?
Yes, absolutely, despite the slow start ( this may have just been me) Footloose really builds into a wonderful feel good show filled with 80s vibes. All the characters were outstanding but a special mention to Ariel (Lucy Munden) and Rusty (Oonagh Cox) who both graduated in 2021, however blew me away with their energy and performances.
Footloose is playing at Manchester, Opera House until Sat 5 Mar 2022
Then on UK Tour on the following dates.
- Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, Mon 21 Mar – Sat 26 Mar 2022
- The Alexandra, Birmingham, Tue 19 Apr – Sat 23 Apr 2022
- Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Mon 9 May – Sat 14 May 2022
- Sunderland Empire, Mon 6 Jun – Sat 11 Jun 2022
- New Victoria Theatre, Woking Mon 13 Jun – Sat 18 Jun 2022
- New Theatre Oxford, Tue 28 Jun – Sat 2 Jul 2022
- Edinburgh Playhouse, Tue 19 Jul – Sat 23 Jul 2022
- King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Mon 1 Aug – Sat 6 Aug 2022
- Princess Theatre, Torquay, Tue 9 Aug – Sat 13 Aug 2022
- New Wimbledon Theatre, Mon 15 Aug – Sat 20 Aug 2022
I was gifted my ticket in return for an honest review and you cant argue with feel good 80s vibes and a comedy undertone thats delivers a great story. Check out more Manchester theatre reviews here.