Footloose – New Wimbledon Theatre, London

Reviewer: Christine Stanton

Writer: Dean Pitchford

Director: Racky Plews

Music and Lyrics: Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford

Footloose – toe-tapping dance numbers, well known singalong songs and the iconic storyline based on the 1980’s classic movie with Kevin Bacon – what more could you ask for from a musical?!

When Chicago boy Ren (Joshua Hawkins) moves to fictional town Bomont, he’s immediately bored of the small, strait-laced community. No dancing, no parties and seemingly no fun, all enforced by Reverend Shaw Moore (Darren Day), it’s hard to see the appeal to the close-knit town. Trying to inject a bit of excitement into the monotony, Ren is desperate to bring on some change, but not before encountering a whole lot of trouble from the locals in the process.

Hawkins is a fantastic lead. Engaging and charismatic, he plays the misunderstood bad boy perfectly. His scenes with Lucy Munden (Ariel Moore) are full of chemistry, with both of them building up the romantic tension between them well and impressing during their solo songs. Day is also perfectly cast as the gentle, yet hard-headed reverend. He exudes experience and is, no doubt, a natural performer. But overall, JLS’s Aston Merrygold steals the show as the goofy Willard Hewitt. He injects well-timed comedy into all of his scenes, embodying his character, while also utilising his fantastic singing and dancing abilities. It’s impossible to find fault in this very talented performer so if you’re Holding Out For A Hero’ you may have just found him!

The supporting cast are full of energy, contributing to the overall upbeat vibe of the performance. Despite some of their accents being cringeworthily bad during their speaking parts, they still give it their all during the musical numbers and shine both vocally and physically. Incorporating the instruments into the choreography constructed by Matt Cole is also great way to further expand on the fast-paced, feel good, fun.

The set and costume designs by Sara Perks are the epitome of an 80s American high school atmosphere. Immediately drawing comparisons to the movie, but everything is bigger, brighter and bolder, which makes for a brilliant musical adaptation. The subtle set changes work really well within the storyline, clearly differentiating between each scene, but still allowing for smooth transitions.

Impressive for a show to be Still Rockin’ after all these years, so Let’s Hear It For The Boy – Dean Pitchford for bringing this iconic movie to the stage. Thankfully, Dancing Is Not A Crime so you’ll definitely find yourself shimmying away and getting Footloose in your seat at the New Wimbledon Theatre to this 80s throwback delight.

Runs until 20 August 2022 and then continues to tour 

The Reviews Hub Score

Eighties Throwback Delight

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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