Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Cast: Gareth Gates, Maureen Nolan, Joshua Dowen, Grace Lancaster, Reuven Gershon, Emma Fraser, Lauren Storer, Gracie Lai, Laura Sillett, Luke Dowling, Dominic Gee Burch, Connor Going, Alex Marshall, Lawrence Libor, Lindsay Goodhead, Thomas Wolstenhome, Jamie Ross.
Dancing is a right, unalienable and not for removing, it is up there with singing, being able to stand on stage and deliver a poem, recite a monologue or doing anything that gives you pleasure and in which does not hurt another person. Even if you cannot do something well, even if you make yourself look a fool in the eyes of others, does it matter, does it mean a thing if you get an ounce of self worth from the very act.
Footloose: The Musical is amongst many theatre productions that allude to this right, that to take away something as simple as dancing from anybody’s life is akin to taking away their right to be, to live freely. It is a right that is beautifully and energetically explored with passion at the Royal Court Theatre.
Gareth Gates has come a long way since Pop Idol, but what he has gained over the intervening years is a huge appreciation for his work ethic. Already one who could be seen as being skilful in the path set before him, his sense of flawless flirting, the dynamic rhythm and generosity to other’s performances stands him out as one to watch on stage; especially in something such as Footloose: The Musical where his many talents, timing, singing and dancing, are all on show.
Much praise must also go to Grace Lancaster who stepped into the lead role of Ariel, a genuinely accomplished and proficient reading of the part to which much demands are normally asked of. Alongside Gracie Lai and Joshua Dowen, who played the out of town boy struggling against an unjust local law with devilish charm and style, Footloose: The Musical in this particular company’s hands is a pleasure waiting to be had.
Toe tapping, the urge to scream out loud and make your voice heard in a world that is often closed minded and foolish, at times we are all Ren McCormack, we are all Ariel, we find salvation where there is music, we sing, we dance, because at the end of the day life is far too short to not be allowed to either.
A wonderful production, directed by Racky Plews with impeccable homage to the original hit film, Footloose: The Musical is fancy free and ready to bring music to the soul.
Ian D. Hall