REVIEW: Footloose: The Musical at Bridlington Spa

Gareth Gates in Footloose: The Musical
Gareth Gates in Footloose: The Musical

Let’s hear it for the boys and girls in the cast of Footloose which is packing them in at the East Coast venue.

One of the most special things about this production is that it started life at the Spa – that’s a real feather in the Spa’s cap.

It now tours to such illustrious theatres as the Palace Theatre, Manchester, and the Liverpool Empire.

But we have the privilege of saying: “We saw it here first” – and it is a fantastic production.

It rocks, rolls, spins and breakdances, sings, sinks to the depths of despair and soars to the heights of pure joy – there’s tears and laughter.

All the cast sing, dance and play a range of instruments from keyboards to clarinet while telling the story of city boy Ren who moves to the small town of Bomont where dancing is banned.

Frustrated and angry, Ren challenges the town’s authority – led by the Rev Shaw – and galvanises its youth into mild rebellion.

Luke Baker is perfect as Ren – great voice and equally good moves – and finds an equally talented leading lady in Hannah Price as the Rev’s headstrong daughter Ariel.

Experienced stagers Nigel Lister as the Rev and Maureen Nolan as his wife VI keep the show grounded.

But what about Gareth Gates as simple soul Willard, Ren’s best friend? If you were holding out for a hero you’ve found him.

The singer is a revelation (in more ways than one – won’t spoil it for you by saying what happens). He can act, dance – and we all know the boy can sing.

He shows he has a self-deprecating sense of humour and his solo number Mama Says is a real showstopper – the cries for more went on well after the second encore.

His love interest Rusty is played by Joanna Sawyer and she matches Gates’ quirkiness exactly – they offer perfect support for the main attraction Ariel and Ren. Matthew Tomlinson is broody and dark as the jealous Chuck. In fact the whole ensemble cast are full of talent and an energy that lights up the place.

The set – complete with cars, diner, church, bridge and dance halls – is genius.

This production is quality and would grace any stage. It’s packed full of tunes – including the belter Holding Out For a Hero, girls’ anthem Let’s Hear It For The Boy and, of course, the rip-it-up title tune Footloose.

Deservedly, the performance earned roars of approval and a standing ovation – Footloose is faultless.

It is a great night out – fun, full of rocking music and beautiful ballads. So cut loose and see Footloose before it moves on.

It is on Thursday Feburary 4, Friday February 5 and Saturday February 6 at 7.30pm plus a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday.

Tickets: 01262 678258