Tuesday 15th March 2016, and the excitement for the evening ahead was rapidly building up, it was the night that I had tickets to watch Footloose at Manchester Palace Theatre.
Based on one of the biggest movies of the 80’s and produced by Sell A Door Theatre Company (also known for producing Avenue Q and American Idiot). Footloose is a toe-tapping classic, which I had very high expectations for especially with the 2 star cast members, Gareth Gates and Maureen Nolan, both of whom I had seen acting before, and certainly was impressed by. I hoped that this would continue during their performances in Footloose, and I was not let down. They gave a faultless performance and really captured the essence of each character.
Footloose followers the story of city boy Ren who moves from all singing all dancing Chicago, to Bomont where Ren soon establishes that Bomont is a lot worse than he initially imagined. With a dancing ban enforced (I mean come on, who could live like that?!) and locals immediately hating him, Ren can’t resist breaking the rules, and surprisingly others are soon to follow. With a plot full of drama, romance, rebellion and a hell of a lot of hormones, Footloose is an extremely entertaining watch, and the acting, singing and dancing is undoubtedly very well rehearsed, ultimately achieving a polished performance throughout from all cast members.
Gareth Gates, then 18, rose to fame during the first series of Pop Idol and further went on to achieve number one hits and millions of record sales worldwide. Gareth then furthered his career and was in numerous theatrical productions, touring the UK. In Footloose, Gareth’s character is Willard and Gareth has plenty of chances to show everyone his vocal and dancing talents. During Gareth’s solo song ‘Mama Says’ he really shows his vocal range and his charisma as a performer fully engaging with the audience bringing not only an element of comedy but also a hint of sex appeal at various points. It was a flawless performance for Gareth throughout, and an unexpected reveal of flesh during ‘Holding Out For A Hero’, sees Gareth stripped down to a skimpy pair of shorts leaving the audience gasping, wolf whistling and quickly reaching for bottles of water to cool themselves down!
Maureen Nolan is a very well accomplished actress within the musical theatre world and is equally successful in the music industry. Singing with her sisters since she was 9 years old, Maureen is certainly no stranger to belting out a tune, and along with her sisters they became one of Europe’s first successful girl bands. I had very high expectations for Maureen’s performance in tonights show, having been blown away by her characterisation of Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers which I had previously seen and been very moved by. Taking on the role of Vi Moore, the Reverend’s wife, Maureen makes the role seem effortless and gives a high level of sophistication in her characterisation, certainly living up to the expectations I had been building up and reminding the audience why she has become such an accomplished actress.
Vocally, Hannah Price who plays Ariel Moore left me speechless. Hannah gave an uplifting, moving and confident performances and her vocals were often leaving me with goosebumps. ‘Holding Out For A Hero’ really highlights Hannah’s vocal abilities and allows her to demonstrate her evident raw talent for singing. This musical number was 100% my favourite in the show. It was sung perfectly and had so much energy and connection with the audience from all the cast members that it created such an upbeat atmosphere in the auditorium leaving the audience dancing and singing along.
Having really, really enjoyed my evening I can highly recommend this show. So, why don’t you kick off your Sunday shoes and cut loose whilst booking yourself tickets for the tour? Footloose is in Manchester until Saturday 19th March and then it will continue the tour of the UK. Fancy getting hold of some tickets? Go to this link here: http://footloose-musical.com and book yourself some seats for a show that is guaranteed to leave you singing along!