There were enough headbands and wrist bands to start a dance class last night when the curtain went up on Footloose the Musical’s five day run at the Millennium Forum – and that was just the audience.
In front of a full house, the 80s were back with a bang as all the old classics were unleashed to whoops of approval with everyone cutting loose to the four-time Tony Award nominee.
The rock n’ roll high energy explosion of dance and song stars Maureen Nolan as Vi Moore, the pastors wife, and 911’s Lee Brennan as lovable Willard. Willard is the hick who Ren McCormack befriends upon arriving in the small rural town of Bomont with his mother, having left the big smoke of Chicago.
Ren, played by Luke Baker, finds it tough going at first settling in to country life but then learns that dancing is outlawed in the small town. That’s a big no-no. How is he supposed to dance to ‘Footloose, Footloose, Kick off your Sunday shoes, Please, Louise, pull me off of my knees’… without moving his feet. Impossible.
Cast as an angry outsider, Ren finds that ‘Somebody’s Eyes are Watching’ and he can’t wait to get out of Bomont, which is a feeling that is shared by Ariel, the pastor’s daughter – played by Hannah Moore - which helps draw the pair together. But instead of getting out of Bomont, the couple change that no dancing town into the hip swinging, back flipping place to be.
Lee Brennan’s portrayal of Willard was superb, the stand out performance of the night as he played the small town hick who had his jaw constantly moving to the rhythm of his chewing gum. Drawing all the laughs, Brennan was also involved in the largest whoop of the night as his oil splattered overalls were suddenly torn off him by Ariel and Rusty to the music of ‘Holding Out for a Hero’ to reveal some very tight glittering hot pants.
The auditorium was swaying to the music as the audience couldn’t help but get Footloose and the grand finale had everyone on their feet dancing to all the classic numbers making that feel good factor contagious.
Tuesday, 31st May 2016