Review: Footloose at Alhambra Theatre, Bradford – ‘a must-see’
Based on the 1980s film Footloose, the rock and roll hit musical bursts onto the Alhambra stage with the enduring spirit of youth. Superbly adapted by Dean Pichford and Walter Bobbie the storyline has not been compromised and the choreography was near perfect. Based on a true story of city boy Ren McCormick, excellently played by Luke Baker, forced to leave his home in Chicago for a very different life in Bomont, West Virginia.
Baker demonstrated his incredible dance moves and kept true to the character’s restless nature throughout, he literally can’t stand still. The townspeople are banned from dancing by the controlling Reverend Shaw Moore who Nigel Lister realistically portrayed. The consistent oppression he imposes on his congregation ensures our empathy with the rebellion it causes.
High energy hits from the 80s included ‘Holding out for a Hero’, ‘Let’s Hear it for the Boy’ and ‘Almost Paradise’. The unique use of actor-musicians was quite a feat by the whole cast, combining: singing, dancing, acting whilst playing musical instruments, showcasing their brilliant multiple skills and talent.
Gareth Gates played the comedic part of Willard, with rude antics and some unexpected seductive moments, he certainly had the audience in his hands. Joanna Sawyer as Rusty had incredible delivery and hit some amazing notes. Hannah Price convincingly played Ariel Moore and revealed the rebellion and romance that this oppressed teenage daughter of the Rev feels.
The final rendition of Footloose earned this hard working company a well-deserved standing ovation. It is a must see – so kick off your Sunday shoes and see it.
Reviewed on 28th June 2016 at Alhambra Theatre, Bradford where it runs until 2nd July.