Footloose (2018), King's Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Bohemians Lyric Opera Company
Malcolm J Burnett, Director; Finlay Turnbull, Musical Director; Dominic Lewis, Choreographer; jonnie Clough, Lighting Designer; Mike Somerville, Sound Designer; Andrew Layton, Wardrobe Supervisor
Ross McaPherson, Felicity Thomas, Chris Cameron, Cathy Geddie, Charlotte Jones, Sophie Harpur, Jo Heinemeier, Andrew Knox, Thomas McFarlane, Ciara O'Brien, Ryan Johnston, Cameron Kirby, Douglas Anderson, Stuart Williamson, Max Mitchell, David Doherty, Lee McHugh, Susan Leask, Wallace Oldridge, Joan Black, Shone Smith, Keith Starsmeare, Shona Sandison, Caoilainn McGarry, Deborah Sewell, Stephanie Knowles, Josie Bodle, Zoe Brooks, Fiona Dawson, Rachel Aedy, Paris Afshar, Heather Anderson, Gillian Bruce, Natalie Bundy, Erin Carey, Emma Dawson, Samantha Doig, Lucie Douglas, Torya Hughes, Fiona Hunter, Hannah Jones, Greg Lamb, Lukasz Leszkiewicz, Vimi Lomax, Lyndsey McGhee, Alison McKay, Erin Munro, Mark O'Brien, Donald Randall, Jessie Reeves, Gillian Reilly, Lauren Scott, Kirsten Simpson, Gemma Stenhouse, Roza Stevenson, Kirsty Tomassi, Alison Wood
Running time

Once again, the Bohemian Light Opera take to the King's stage with another triumph.

This spring's performance is Footloose, one of many American High School musicals to come out of the 1980s. This one is set in Bomont, a town where alcohol, raucous music and most fun things are banned – including dancing.

Ren and his mother move from Chicago down to Bomont where Ren, who cannot keep still, is shocked to find his beloved dancing prohibited. When he falls in with the pastor's daughter Ariel, tensions rise as the newcomer causes friction with his obsessive movement and a past tragedy is brought to light. It only remains to wonder whether the hopeful youth of Bomont can overcome years of restriction to let go of the past, bring back dancing and become foot-loose.

The Bohemians smash it. With a cast 58 strong, many impressive vocal lines and a fabulous array of choreography, this is really a tour de force. The opening number is a suitable springboard for the energy and tenacity of the company and get the show off to a great start with a lively and succinct ensemble working together like a smooth engine. All credit to Dominic Lewis whose choreography was amazing, especially for such a huge number of people.

As the performance progresses it is plain to see that there is an enormous amount of talent in this amateur company. Ross MacPherson, who plays Ren, was born to be a leading man and carries the show along with his fellow leads and supporting cast with promising dexterity. Cathy Geddie also deserves a mention as a wonderful Vi Moore, and her trio with Felicity Thomas as Ariel and Ciara McBrien as Ethel McCormack was poignant, and not a note was missed.

It is magnificent to see such a large amateur cast giving 100%, and the hard work was well worth is as the movement and vocals were spot on. Footloose is a great show for this kind of company with a good number of supporting roles in which the actors can shine. It's a really feel-good show with moments of hilarity, particularly from Thomas McFarlane who plays Willard and his quartet of barbershop singers who almost steal the show.

It's a light-hearted, unapologetic musical that ticks every box, and quite possibly....the best 'Amdram' production I've ever seen.

Runs at the King's until 17th.