Footloose Review

New Victoria Theatre Woking – until Saturday 18th June

Reviewed by Liberty Noke


Footloose tells the well known story of Ren McCormack (Joshua Hawkins) who moves from Chicago to a small town called Bomont where dancing is banned. Ren and his mother Ethel (Wendy Paver) move to Bomont and at church meet the preacher (Darren Day) and his daughter, bad girl Ariel (Lucy Munden). Ren quickly develops a reputation as a troublemaker as he struggles to fit in in Bomont. He befriends the charming yet awkward Willard (Ben Mabberley) who teaches him about life in Bomont. And they along with Ariel and the other teenagers in Bomont plan to oppose the law banning dancing.

This is a phenomenally talented cast, if the amazing vocals weren’t enough they were also playing the music for the show. One drummer was positioned above the stage and a bassist but all other instruments were played on stage. Members of the ensemble were playing clarinets, guitars and saxophones while dancing and it became increasingly clear how talented the cast were during the bows when all the instrumentalists were on stage while singing and dancing. At one point 2 guitarists were jumping a skipping rope while paying guitar. A unique way of playing the score to a show that I really loved. I will say the choreography in the opening number while the dancers weren’t playing instruments was a little out of sync but I believe that to be opening night nerves. All choreography was performed with great energy and enthusiasm.

Lucy Munden is a powerhouse as Ariel her vocals were incredible and she was the perfect Ariel, stubborn, adventurous and fun. This was a spectacular professional début and no doubt the start to a successful career. I don’t think this is the last time we will hear the name Lucy Munden. Ben Mabberley who played Willard in the place of Jake Quickenden was another stand out performance he created such an endearing and funny character you couldn’t take your eyes off him.

Ariel and Ren had great onstage chemistry laughing and joking with each other during the song almost paradise. The song learning to be silent was a lovely moment in the show Holly Ashton, Wendy Paver and Lucy Munden all sang with such emotion and at the end when instead of singing the last line they closed their mouths and hummed it was perfectly heartbreaking.

Footloose is the ultimate feel good show the entire audience were on their feet dancing and singing along at the end. The bright 80s costumes, the upbeat music and the endearing characters make this the kind of show you can’t help but enjoy. It’s a story so many of us know from the movie but seeing this talented cast bring it to life on the stage is an experience not to be missed.