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Review: Footloose at Newcastle Tyne Theatre

Time to Cut Loose At Tyne Theatre

Footloose: The Musical
Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Saturday 16th July 2016

Photo: Matt Martin
After the success of Avenue Q, Sell-A-Door return to the Tyne Theatre with the feel good hit Footloose. Based upon the popular 80s film that helped make Kevin Bacon a star, it has songs like Holding Out For A Hero, Lets Hear It For The Boy and, of course, Footloose. This production fulfils the Sell-A-Door mantra of making theatre that will appeal to young adult audiences.

Photo: Matt Martin
Footloose begins with Ren (Luke Baker) and his mother (Nicky Swift) leaving Chicago after Ren’s Dad walks out on them. They head to the quiet town of Bomont, where Ren’s uncle (Alex Marshall) has offered them a place to stay. They attend a service of the Reverend Shaw Moore (Nigel Lister) in which the change in pace is quickly apparent. Ren catches the eye of the Reverend’s daughter, Ariel (Hannah Price) who is dating bad boy Chuck (Matthew Tomlinson). Ariel’s father does not approve of any excitable behaviour.

Photo: Matt Martin
At school Ren doesn’t fit in though he quickly turns Willard (Luke Thornton) into a friend and helps him take a wider view. This is fortunate as Rusty (Joanna Sawyer) is struggling to get Willard to move to the first base in a relationship. Against this backdrop Ren discovers that there is a ban on dancing within the town’s limits after 4 children had a car accident on a local bridge after such an even. One of those young people killed was the son of the Revered and his wife, Vi (Maureen Nolan) and so the Rev used his authority on the Town’s board to maintain the law. The musical then explores how the final year High School students cope with the tough rules.

Photo: Matt Martin
Racky Plews directs another tight production. This production differs from a previous production of the show we have seen by moving the musicians onto the stage. Almost every actor finds themselves playing at least one instrument at some point. This leaves musical director David Ketch tucked behind his drum kit at the side of the stage. Having the music being created in full view of the audience keeps up the energy levels of the production.

Photo: Matt Martin
This production, on paper, lacked a star as Gareth Gates is going to be missing, on doctors orders, until Thursday. In reality Luke Baker, Maureen Nolan, Hannah Price, Luke Thornton, Joanna Sawyer and Nigel Lister have more than enough star quality to make it worth coming along to see the show.  Each one has their moment to shine. Maureen Nolan nails it with her performance of Can You Find It In Your Heart? and Hannah Price, Joanna Sawyer, Natasha Brown and Miracle Chance make Let’s Hear it For The Boy their own. The girls don’t have it their own way as, for example Scott Haining shows as Cowboy Bob during Still Rockin’.

Photo: Matt Martin
The show finishes with a Footloose mix which had the audience on their feet “cutting it loose” at the end.

This is an energetic production worthy of a packed house. It’s a vibrant show that helps put the Tyne Theatre on the Newcastle cultural map.  

This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook

Tickets: £22.50 - £32.50. Group booking discount available. (plus booking fees when booking online and over the phone)
The Tyne Theatre & Opera House Box Office is open 10am-3:30pmMonday to Friday and event days
Booking and Information Line: 0844 2491 000 (10am – 6pmMonday to Friday)

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