Footloose has undergone a bit of a transformation for this production with the cast now playing the instruments as they act and a new staging. All very exciting and with quite a talented cast, but does it work? In part, where it works it really is quite good but overall I didn't find the evening inspiring.
One thingI will say, up front, is that the dance discipline was superb, I mean really good - all in time, all in step, even when playing instruments - it created a really positive impression. Great stuff, "yay" to the choreographer and dance captain!
Gareth Gates overplays the slow Willard but I warmed to him in the second half whereas Luke Baker's Ren wasn't quite there for me, things did not look as "accomplished" as I felt they were intended to be. The sound was a bit unbalanced, lighting went "odd" a few times and the set seemed a bit gash, however, it was the production itself that I felt let the audience, and the clearly talented cast, down. It just lacked focus and thought, example, The Rev has to say something about telling his daughter off, in the middle of a song, so a line before she walks on to stage and "adjusts her boots", he sings the line and she walks off the same way - why? Musical theatre benefits from intent and design as much as any other form.
I felt this deserved more oomph and would perhaps have benefited from geing in a smaller venue - it just didn't make me want to "kick off my Sunday shoes"