Footloose, New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

by Julie Wallis

Footloose, New Alexandra Theatre until 9th July

Once again the New Alexandra Theatre is hosting another fabulous production, this week sees Footloose the musical from Monday 4th until Saturday 9th July , based on the 1984 movie starring Kevin Bacon.

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Luke Thornton is playing Willard and he is a more than worthy main character. Gareth Gates was to play Willard, but sadly Gareth has been told to take a week to rest his voice due to a previous vocal injury, so for any Gareth Gates fans you may have to travel to another venue if you are hoping to see the man himself, but for everyone who is just hoping to see a great performance of an iconic 80s movie come to life on stage I say don’t be put off just because an understudy has taken the role of Willard.

Footloose is the story of a small town in the south of America that has banned public dancing, Ren and his mother move from the city of Chicago to this sleepy backwater due to a change of circumstances in their life, and Ren discovers he has moved to a town that has outlawed public dancing. Being a normal teenager Ren wants to over turn the outdated law and bring back dancing to Bomont. Can he persuade the town council to change the law?

With some awesome 80s tunes including Holding out for a hero, Let’s hear it for the boy and of course Footloose you soon find yourself singing along to these well know tunes. You are moved by Maureen Nolan’s rendition of Can you find it in your heart, Maureen has a haunting voice that carries this type of sad ballad so well. Hannah Price who plays Ariel, the preachers daughter, has a wonderful and powerful voice that is made for musical theatre.

Hannah Price as Ariel Moore in Footloose. Photo Credit Matt Martin (2) (1)
Hannah Price as Ariel Moore in Footloose. Photo by Matt Martin

Set changes are often, fast and very slick. This really is a fast paced show with a lot of story telling to get in to the performance. The cast are so energetic and have a well polished act. Although I found the first act slightly slower than the second act. By the second act the cast really have a bit more in the way of dances and songs to get their teeth into.

With a few laughs thrown in for good measure, you get triple threat actors, that is someone who can sing, dance and act, but wait! You get more than triple threat, add to that, at times 50% of the cast on stage are also playing their musical instruments.

Saxophone, clarinet, oboe guitars and more are all being played as part of the show and it works really well. Now add a roller skating scene and you are beginning to understand why this show is so energetic, it is like a double shot espresso being delivered to a Leicester city football supporter who has just found out they have a winning lottery ticket! I mean it is bouncy, energetic and full of fun. The show ended with all the audience up on their feet, clapping and singing along with the title tune.

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As for Gareth Gates being replaced by the very talented Luke Thornton who as well as being a great singer has wonderful comic timing in his comedy scenes I say Let’s hear it for the boy!! Luke did a sterling job, and I appreciate it must be quite daunting to be filling the shoes of a well known celebrity, but Luke did not disappoint.

I also say many thanks to all the staff at The New Alexandra Theatre for being such wonderful hosts, especially Gavin the bar tender who knows wine never tastes as good in a plastic beaker, this wonderful venue is only enhanced by the super friendly staff. If you have not yet visited The New Alex what are you waiting for? They have a whole catalogue of great shows coming to this delightful theatre. The New Alex invited me to see Footloose for free but I receive no payment for sharing my experience.

New Alexandra Theatre invited #BrumHour to see Footloose. Julie has given her honestly held thoughts and this is not a sponsored post.