Friday, March 1

Footloose – Winter Gardens, Blackpool

This week sees the return of 1980’s screen sensation ‘Footloose.’

The Blackpool leg of the tour was due to begin on Monday 11th April, but the cast and crew have struggled to put on some performances due to Covid, they had five casting covers this evening, so that considered they did a good job putting the show on.  The theatre was sadly quite empty, which has been the case on my last few visits to The Winter Gardens.

A multitalented cast featuring several leads and ensemble also playing live instruments. For me the music stole the show. It’s so nice to see live musicians onstage and the timeless classics Let’s Hear it For The Boy, Holding Out For a Hero’ and of course the title track itself were highlights of the evening.

Some lovely moments of comedy provided by the large ensemble cast, which at times seems panto-Esque or spoof in style.

The show is set in Bomont, USA, where dancing and rock music have been banned. The costumes, scenery and music take us on a journey back to the 80s and there’s a real feel of nostalgia.

Photo: Mark Senior

The energy level was lacking slightly for me, and I expected more from the ensemble numbers and in particular from the choreography. At times the dancing felt like it was being marked instead of performed, but as mentioned earlier I think a lot of these issues were more than likely due to the swapping of roles and last minute switching around.

The costumes were fantastic, and I really like the set for the diner scenes, also the use of roller skates.

Having so many leading roles covered in one performance is a massive challenge for all involved so a big shoutout to the understudies and swings performing today, it’s not an easy task.

Dan Miles as Ren, Lucy Ireland as Ariel, Connor Carsen as Chuck, Ben Barrow as Bickle / Wes and Laurence Stannard – keys 1 / guitar.

The Eye candy of the evening came in the form of the lovely Jake Quickenden as Willard Hewitt, a fantastic character portrayal and well worth a watch for the future.

Overall, would I watch the show again? Honestly probably not, but I think diehard fans of the movie would enjoy this so don’t let what I’ve said put you off, support the theatre and go and see these touring productions.

Performances run until Saturday 16th April 2022.

Reviewer: Rebecca Casey

Reviewed: 13th April 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★