Go cut loose down at The Alexandra Theatre Birmingham where Footloose has unashamedly danced its way into town. This fan favourite musical promises to be a smash hit.
This musical is based on the 1984 film of the same name, with music by Tom Snow, lyrics from Dean Pitchford, and the book by Pitchford and Walter Bobbie. The show tells the story of Ren McCormack, an ordinary teen from Chicago who moves to a small town where dancing is banned. Ren attempts to overturn this ban and convince the town to get on its feet, resulting in moments of hilarity, triumph, and self-discovery.
The music stole the show for me with classic 80s hits including Holding Out for a Hero, Almost Paradise, Let’s Hear It for the Boy and of course the unforgettable title track Footloose. The iconic songs had the audience up on their feet, clearly bringing back memories of good times had by all. The musicians appear live on stage and get involved in the production; it is so nice to see them immersed in the musical, it feels even more special.
This is a show that has everything you would want in a light-hearted, carefree musical with a rebellious teen love story at the centre. The production and creative team have done a brilliant job in creating the props, set, and costumes, which instantly transport you back to the 1980s. With their cowboy boots, and leg warmers reminiscent of the time. The set for the diner was fantastic as well as the use of roller skates, which bought the set to life.
The cast was terrifically led by Dancing on Ice Winner and Theatre star Jake Quickenden as Willard, he is one to watch for the future. He showcased his sublime acting talents as he was able to deliver a performance that was comedic, sexy and at times heartfelt. Musical Theatre favourite Darren Day as Rev. Moore delivered an exceptionally polished performance, his vocal abilities were outstanding. However, it must be said that the energy level of the rest of the cast was a little bit low, it could be because there were a few last-minute changes in terms of roles. This last-minute swapping appears to have been an issue for this production throughout their tour. But despite these challenges everyone involved, understudies and swings alike really pulled together to deliver a brilliant performance.
Overall, it was an enjoyable evening, and it provided a lot of wholesome entertainment. However, one must question how relevant this musical is to the youth of today. Whilst the film is a firm favourite and iconic to many, it could be argued that the plot is a little bit far-fetched. But despite all of that, Footloose still manages to provide the audience with that essential escapism. It has an undeniable feel-good factor that is needed, so go and give it a watch.
Footloose continues between Tuesday 19th – Saturday 23rd April 2022 at The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham Box office: 0844 871 3011 https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/footloose/the-alexandra-theatre-birmingham/
Reviewer: Priya Gupta
Reviewed: 19th April 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★