© Robert Day

Bursting with energy and sing-out-loud tunes, Footloose – The Dance Musical explodes into life at Edinburgh’s Playhouse Theatre.

Filled with classic 80s anthems such as Holding Out For A Hero, Let’s Hear It For The Boy and the title track, Footloose, the audience were dancing in the aisles long before the final curtain call.

The original film, (which made a star of Kevin Bacon) was based loosely on the true story of a small town in Oklahoma – Elmore City – that had banned dancing for almost 100 years.

In 1979 the 11 high school kids wanted to have a prom but it split the rural town apart. Eventually in 1980 the kids triumphed and inspired the first in a long line of high school musicals.

The musical story follows the classic tale of teen rebellion and repression. City boy Ren (Max Milner) tries to fit in with the hick town ways but gets into a lot of trouble for being an outsider and refusing to accept the town’s ordinance banning dancing.

Ren’s love interest, Ariel (Lorna Want), the daughter of a preacher man (Stephen Pinder) is going out with the town bully (Matt Willis) and becoming wayward due to the spirit of repression.  She eventually gets beaten up by her boyfriend and threatens to leave home since her relationship with her father has broken down.

© Robert Day

Harmony is finally restored when the town accepts they have to get with the times and embrace the challenges of modernity.

The cast were all obviously selected because of their outstanding singing talent.  With brilliantly close but individual renditions of the old classics, Jodie Jacobs (Rusty), Lorna Want (Ariel), Max Milner and Keisha Amponsa Banson (Urleen) turned in stupendous singing, dancing acting and comedy performances.

Giovanni Spano (Willard) entertained the crowds with his corn-sucking, slow-witted comedy character. The choreography and transitions were breath-takingly tight and the harmonies, duets and individual solos were some of the sweetest voices heard for a long time.

A brilliantly joyful show with toe-tapping tunes and a heart-warming cast.

Looking forward to the film remake due for release in October 2011 starring Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough and Dennis Quaid.

Show: Footloose The Dance Musical, Venue: The Edinburgh PlayhouseDates: Mon 14th – Sat 19th February 2011, Tickets: £16 – £36, Times: Mon to Thurs 19:30, Fri and Sat: 17:00 and 20:30

You can also see this article at the new STV Local Edinburgh North site here.

© Fin Wycherley


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