The original 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon has been given a spruce up for the stage. Currently touring the UK, this version stars Gareth Gates and Maureen Nolan.
The classic story sees city boy Ren move to the small town of Bomont with his mother. To his dismay, he discovers that dancing is banned. Ren soon shakes the town up, stealing the heart of the rebellious Reverend’s daughter, upsetting the local bad boys along the way and persuading the town council to let his high school throw a dance.
If you’re unfamiliar with the film, you’ll be no stranger to the soundtrack which was so popular that it knocked Michael Jackson’s Thriller album off the number one top spot when it was released. Songs you didn’t even know were in the film pop up including Let’s hear it for the boy and Holding our for a Hero, as well as the famous Footloose.
If you were a child of the 80s, this will certainly take you back. The stage show moves at a faster pace than the movie with brilliant 80s costumes, a clever set which revolves to reveal a house, a drive-in diner, high-school gym and backdrops. The cast sing, dance and act their way through the iconic story with humour – and the songs are belted out with crazy enthusiasm.
Can we talk about Gareth Gates for a minute?
Gates plays Willard. The show’s version of Willard is a dumbed down version of the already-slow Willard in the movie. Willard befriends Ren and plays the obligatory sidekick, adding a dash of humour, cuteness and delivering classic 80s-movie moral takeaways.
If you weren’t already aware that Gareth Gates has been on the stage circuit for a while (like us), you won’t be expecting much from him. You are wrong my friends, Gates plays the role with uninhibited ease and did more than delight the middle-aged ladies in the audience in one particularly lively scene with his shockingly toned body. It’s like he disappeared for a few years to work out. Yep, Gareth Gates has done a Craig David.
The verdict? Book tickets for a weekday and leave your day at the door. This is no Les Miserables but it’s an easy watch which will get you bobbing in your seat. Like the original movie, there are a few slow bits which you would fast forward through if you could but by the end of the show, the audience are up on their feet clapping, dancing and cheering. In short, you’ll leave with a smile on your face and you’ll still be humming the songs the next morning.
You’ll also want to break out the 80s denim and dresses. We’ve got you covered. Shop vintage 80s clothes here.
Footloose: The Musical has music by Tom Snow and lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and is adapted for the stage by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie. It is based on the original screenplay by Dean Pitchford. Showing at the Peacock Theatre until 30th September and in Liverpool until 3rd November.
London show tickets available from the Peacock Theatre.