Review: Footloose, Bridlington Spa

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This must be one of the best known of the musicals that have migrated from film-to-stage.

The majority of audience members had either seen the 1984 Kevin Bacon version, heard all the hit numbers or already attended one of the many touring adaptations.

In fact, the show was at the Bridlington Spa 18 months ago. There have been a few cast changes though Gareth Gates and Maureen Nolan are back for this run.

The story: a mother Ethel (Lindsay Goodhand) and her son Ren (Joshua Dowen) leave the big city and move to live in the small town of Bomont. The town council, dominated by Rev Shaw Moore (Reuven Gershon), have banned rock music and dancing because these activities are blamed for the wild behaviour that led to the deaths of four teenagers, including Moore’s son.

Cue rebellion from newcomer Ren and Moore’s daughter Ariel (Grace Lancaster).

Joshua Dowen as Ren leads the cast with some athletic dancing. The singing too gets the job done, but his acting lacks subtlety, too often descending into a rant.

Gareth Gates plays the simpleton Willard, sounding remarkably like Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump.

Perhaps of greater appeal to some sections of the audience, however, was the sudden removal of his overalls to reveal sculpted pectorals with an impressive six pack.

Maureen Nolan is impressive as Vi Moore, the reverend’s downtrodden and rather desperate wife. Her quiet despair at her husband’s repressive grip on the life of the small town provided some poignant moments.

The song Footloose itself tops and tails the evening and has all the energy you would expect. Other big hits, such as Holding Out for a Hero and Let’s Hear it for the Boy give minor part cast members a chance to excel.

The audience went out into the night happy having been thoroughly entertained.

Footloose runs at the Spa until Saturday October 14.

Performances are daily at 7.30pm plus matinees today and Saturday at 2.30pm.

Tickets are available on 01262 678258.

The Spa will host Our House: Madness The Musical from Tuesday October 17 to Saturday October 21.