Grand Opera House York – until Saturday 6 May 2017. Reviewed by Michelle Richardson
Kick off your Sunday shoes and cut loose to the music of Footloose, now touring and playing at the Grand Opera House in York. Based on the hit 1980’s film with story revolving around youth, rebellion and romance.
Ren, Joshua Dowen, is the city boy being forced to move to the bible belt town of Bomont with his mother. We meet the rest of the cast in church, led by the Reverend, Reuven Gershon, who shows himself to be narrow minded and a driving force about the laws and regulations in Bemont. Unfortunately for him he has a bit of a wild child daughter, Ariel, Hannah Price, who really is just going through a phase and is just rebelling against her strict father.
Ren manages to make friends with Willard, played by Gareth Gates, of Pop Idol fame. Willard is a simple fellow, a bit of a country hick and definitely the comedy act of the musical, a bit over the top at times, but it certainly made us laugh. In one sequence his clothes are ripped off and he is left standing in nothing but aviator sunglasses and a skimpy pair of gold shorts, it certainly pleased a good proportion of the audience and he sure has done a lot of working out since his Pop Idol days!
The other star of the show is Maureen Nolan who plays the Reverend’s wife Vi, a part she plays with ease. She delivers a solid vocal performance and you can tell she is comfortable on stage and has been performing for years.
Ren discovers, much to his disgust, that dancing is banned. Banned, how can it be banned?? He decides to try and change this and takes on the town and the Reverend.
All the cast worked very hard, most playing at least one instrument, some even on roller skates, on stage. There were 2 keyboards slightly hidden at the both sides and they constantly had different cast members jumping in to contribute their bit, backwards and forwards, even Gates. All this whilst singing and dancing, a truly talented group.
I really enjoyed the performance of Laura Sillett who played Rusty, the love interest for Willard. She was the stand out performer for me in the show as a whole.
Definitely a show with the feel good factor and you will be entertained from start to finish.
Showing in York until Saturday 6th May.