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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Footloose – The dance musical

Liverpool Empire
7th – 12th March

Author: Dean Pitchford and Tom Snow
Director: Karen Bruce
Producer: The Wimpole Theatre
Cast Includes: Steve Pinder, Max Millner, Lorna Want, Jodie Jacobs, Matt Willis and Giovanni Spano

Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes

 

Promotional poster for Footloose - the dance musical

 

From the opening seconds you’re drawn into the fast paced, fun, energetic performance that is Footloose – the dance musical.

In a small town in Oklahoma there’s rebellion in the air! The town’s young people are suffering under the misguided regime of local pastor Shaw Moore who has banned dancing. He believes that ‘when boys and girls breathe in each others ears (fornication) is the next step’. Then city boy Ren McCormack arrives and proves to be the spark that ignites the whole town.

 

With slick well polished performances it becomes obvious why this production has become a West End hit. My only reservation would be that Max Millner (Ren), whilst energetic and an accomplished singer lacks the passion and fire that made the character of Ren McCormack famous. Busted’s Matt Willis of however has enough charisma and stage presence to keep our eyes locked on him. It’s a pity then that he sings only one song and is on stage for just 20 minutes.

The real show stealers are the female cast led by Lorna Want as Ariel and Jodie Jacobs as Rusty. ‘Holding Out For A Hero’ and ‘Let’s Hear It For The Boy’ are sung with such energy and passion and is well-matched by their genuine singing talent. The liveliness of these songs is so infectious it has you wanting to dance in the aisles. Jodie Jacobs as Rusty undeniably stole the show as her songs outshone all others.

The film has been carefully adapted into a well rounded stage musical. Fans of the film will miss a few iconic scenes, but the songs written especially for the musical more than adequately make up for this. From the clever set design which transforms the stage without slowing the flow of one scene into another, to the carefully crafted comic moments of minor characters, the producers have given incredible attention to all aspects of this performance. It pays off - there is nothing to break the suspension of disbelief and bring the audience back to the present. Yet all these elements merely compliment a very capable cast.

As the last lines of the title song fade the audience were on their feet with a standing ovation that continued through the encore. This was a telling sign of a massively enjoyable performance that kept me hooked through the entire two hour show.

Nina Lloyd Jones
26yrs old, born Liverpool
Watersports Instructor (seeing out the cold months in a warm office at Liverpool Hope University)
Lived and worked in America and Greece before returning to the UK
Degree in American Studies & History at Hope University
Loves theatre, music, food, friends, reading and the pub
Eagerly awaiting the season's start so I can get back to Water Sports instructing.
Click here to view details and book for the Liverpool Empire Theatre
www.liverpoolempire.org.uk


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
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