When Footloose first danced in to the West End it was somewhat of a small revelation, a high energy youthful and tightly directed musical it wore the fun on its sleeve and was led by the fantastic Derek Hough. Sadly, with every new tour the spark of this one time guilty pleasure is vanishing.
Based on the Kevin Bacon film it tells the story of city boy Ren who along with his mother move to the small town of Beaumont after her husband walks out on her. However the town is at the grip of the local preacher and dancing and singing in the town has been banned...you can guess the rest.
The problem here is that the cast seemed to be sleep walking through the show until the rousing finale. Singing was off key at times, the acting from the teen characters was non existent and the leading duo are incredibly bland in these roles. Adam Booth who played Ren failed to bring key moments to life and Lorna Want as Ariel (a weak link in the original cast) brings no fire to her role making a rebellious character come off like a Disney princess.
Thank god then for Giovanni Spano as Willard who returns to the show from the fantastic original cast. Each times he steps onto the stage, you are reminded how much fun the show can be. Former Busted band member and recent Flashdance star Matt Willis is also in great voice in the tiny role of Chuck Cranston (he’s far better than this underwritten role). Steven Pinder and Karen Ascoe as Rev Moore his wife brought a real humanity to the show that is sadly lacking elsewhere.
Footloose can be a great night out, when it cuts um..loose, however miscasting and lazy performances show than it can sometimes misstep.