A trip back to the 80’s is on offer this week at the Belgrade. The stage adaptation of Footloose leaps into town with a show packed full of energy.
Ren moves with his mother from Chicago to the small backwater town of Bomont. He finds life as a newcomer and outsider difficult, he struggles to be accepted no matter how hard he tries. As he gets to know Ariel, the daughter of the local preacher, he starts to learn the secrets of the town, including the reason that dancing is banned. Ren makes it his mission to bring back dancing to Bomont and breathe some life back into the town.
The cast double up as the band with some of the actors playing more than one instrument. Keeping in character and often executing dance moves, at one point they were even on roller skates.
For a relatively small cast, the sound coming from the stage is incredible, a testament to the strong voices of all the cast. Hannah Price played Ariel with conviction and depth. Ren (Joshua Dowen) was always full of passion and extreme energy, his lively numbers were as strong as the quieter moments.
The scene between him and the Preacher (Reuven Gershon) was filled with tension and emotion. With a more developed part in the show than the film, Gareth Gates was Willard, one of Ren'a first friends.
The portrayal of the character was always on point and added some moments of humour. His number Mama Says was one of the stand out moments of the show, as was the surprise removal of his dungarees for some of the female audience members, whilst Maureen Nolan delivered a very heartfelt solo Can You Find it in Your Heart?.
With a stage so full of energy from beginning to end, it was hard to know where to look at times as everyone was giving 110%. The dancing was sharp, fast and a joy to watch.
By the end audience members on their feet dancing, ollowed by a deserved standing ovation.
While there are substantial differences to the film, the main elements are there, enough to please fans. This is a feel good show that is guaranteed to get your feet tapping and leave you smiling.
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