Review: Footloose, Musical Youth Theatre Stafford

OK, everybody cut loose - it's Footloose. The perfect summer fun show is given a new lease of life by Staffordshire's top youth theatre company with this new show at the Gatehouse Theatre.

From the opening scene-setter to the toe tappin' finale there's something for everyone in this revamp of the iconic 1980s film.

And who needs Kevin Bacon when you've got the likes of Tom Slade and Jennie Brunskill as your leading lights.

Tom added another chapter to his catalogue of theatre success with a barnstorming turn as Ren McCormack, while Jennie was the perfect foil, playing her part to perfection.

The mother and son pair move from Chicago to the quiet town of Bomont, where Ren quickly catches the eye of preacher’s daughter Ariel Moore, played to feisty perfection by Becky Lyle.

Will Berrington brings great maturity as her straight-laced father, Reverend Shaw Moore, playing a central role with gravitas far beyond his years.

Ren quickly makes friends with Willard Hewitt and Sam Simkin steals almost every scene as the loveable hillbilly learns how to love - and to dance – earning laughs galore and the biggest cheers of the night from the packed house.

Others to shine were Myts veteran Abbie Venables as Vi Moore, Amber Walton, playing it for laughs as Wendy Jo, Kelly Slade as Urleen, lovestruck Alex Smith, Jac Norris as tough coach Roger Dunbar and Jacob Brown, perfect as Wes Warnicker.

As ever, Dave Reynolds' sharp direction keeps things moving on at a good pace and nowhere does the action sag.

Choreographer Katie Farrier Ray's brilliant dance moves blend the 80s with summer 2013 and the mammoth task of handling so many players on stage is achieved with aplomb.

The hard-working Cowboy Bobbie's Band bring sheer joy to the stage every time they appear and the whole thing is wrapped up in the perfect summer feelgood factor.

I defy anyone to leave the theatre without a big wide smile.

Let's hear it for the boys - and girls.

Keith Harrison

 

 

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