13 – 28 September 2013
ANU Arts Centre
Reviewed by Samara Purnell
Bomont is a town burdened by grief and banned from dancing – a law created by the local Reverend. Enter Chicago-bred Ren, struggling with his own baggage and unable to accept the rules of his new town, and you have “Footloose”, Jordan Kelly’s first foray into directing and Nicholas Griffin’s first MD role with Supa.
Angus Murphy plays Ren, challenged and captivated by the Reverend’s daughter Ariel, confidently performed and strongly sung by Eliza Shephard. Murphy’s solos were pitchy but he portrayed Ren’s sarcasm and repressed anger with warmth and gentleness making him decidedly likeable.
Tim Stiles and Christine Forbes as the Reverend and his wife added emotional depth to the show.
Ariel’s friends Rusty (Claudia Tetrault-Percy), Urleen (Kirrah Amosa) and Wendy Jo (Zoe Priest) delivered much of the comic relief – their number “Somebody’s eyes” was a highlight, creatively imagined and staged, with Amosa’s singing a standout.
Anthony Simeonovic as Rusty’s “mama-quoting” boyfriend, Willard was thoroughly entertaining. When the trio and Willard performed “Let’s hear it for the boy”, laughter and toe-tapping (from the audience) ensued.
The ensemble dance numbers hit their line-dancing bootstraps in “Still Rockin’”. Nikole Neal’s choreography was exuberantly danced across the cast but laden with laboured jazz turns. When Ariel belts out “Holding out for a hero” the choreography and movement is at its best.
Costuming was intentionally removed from being explicitly ‘80’s and appeared to cover everything from the ‘60s to contemporary dress.
Ensemble members garnered genuine laughs in this enjoyable production and it was impossible not to hum the lyrics to “Footloose” on the way home.
A version of this review appears on the CityNews website