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23 April 2022

REVIEW|Footloose (UK Tour)

Photo Credit: Mark Senior

Footloose (UK Tour)
The Alexandra, Birmingham

There are shows out there that you know of but have never seen. Well for me, Footloose is one of them. I subconsciously knew some of the plot but I have never seen any iteration of the show or the 1980's film that it is based on. The show comes complete with well known hits such as Holding Out for a Hero, Let's Hear it for the Boy and of course the title song, Footloose but also has additional music, with music by Tom Snow and lyrics by Dean Pitchford, which has some new favourites for me such as Somebody's Eyes and Mama Says to name but a few.

This production has clever set and costume design by Sara Perks, which throws you back with force to the 80s complete with puffy sleeves, multiple colours as well as the more conservative long skirts and smart suits. The simple set, which has small alcoves and hiding places for the musicians during the show is sprinkled with props and a small set for the Reverend's house which is well designed and suitable for the time period.

Alongside this, there is great direction from Racky Plews and great choreography by Matt Cole,which is made even more impressive by the fact that the musicians in the show are also the actors on stage so all movement is done alongside playing various instruments including guitars, flutes, saxophones and clarinets to name a few. The cast are so hardworking that even when you can't see them from your seat, you are more than likely hearing them play behind the scenes.

Before heading into the theatre I was unaware of the cast but I was not disappointed. The two stars, Darren Day and Jake Quickenden who play Reverend Shaw Moore and Willard Hewitt respectively, with both working well in their roles. Darren plays the powerful but maybe lost minister, still struggling with a great loss, who gets to flex his theatre muscles in a few solo moments which he does with experience and has the audience in the palms of his hands. Jake plays the caring and very loyal friend to the lead character, Ren, but also has great chemistry and comedic timing with the rest of the cast and I really enjoyed his performance and so did the audience, especially during on certain gold "outfit".

Photo Credit:Tom Senior

Photo Credit:Tom Senior

Joshua Hawkins who played Ren McCormack commanded the stage from the first appearance to the end,  full of personality and joy and had great chemistry with new graduate Lucy Munden, who played Ariel Moore the reverend's daughter who is beginning to rebel against her father as well as with the rest of the cast. Lucy's rendition of Holding Out for a Hero and the duet of Almost Paradise were both vocally stunning, especially when you learn that Lucy was just returning from having Covid. I look forward to seeing what is next for them both in the future.

Another performance I enjoyed was Tom Mussell as Chuck. I had previously seen Tom in Fame the Musical and loved watching him again, this time in a new style of role as one of the bad guy of the show whilst also flexing his musician muscles again. The other person I couldn't take my eyes off was Oonagh Cox, another new graduate in the role of Rusty. I really enjoyed her harmonies in Somebody's Eyes alongside Jess Barker and Samantha Richards as well as her incredible high notes in Let's Hear it for the Boy and these were too of my favourite moments.

The entire cast were brilliant and this production is definitely worth a watch. With a cast of extremely talented musician actors and some really good songs, you will have a great time and a good seat boogie. To paraphrase Ren himself, you won't be standing still.

To find out where and when the show is near you, you can visit the official tour website and everybody cut Footloose!

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