Stage Adaptation by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie
Based on the original screenplay by Dean Pitchford
Directed by Anthony Swadling
Musical Director: Jenna Hinton
Queanbeyan Players production
Q Theatre, Queanbeyan to 2 July
Reviewed by Len Power 23 June 2023
A musical with a forgettable book, ‘Footloose’ depends on the quality of its production to be a success. Luckily, Queanbeyan Players and director, Anthony Swadling, have given us a rousing entertainment in which the sheer enthusiasm and ability of the cast shines through.
Ren McCormick moves from Chicago to the small town of Bomont USA where dancing and loud music are prohibited following a tragic accident. How Ren challenges and overcomes the town’s conservative stance is the basic idea of the plot. The predictable plot doesn’t matter, though. It’s the musical numbers that make this show.
The music is mostly by Tom Snow but several well-known songs by Kenny Loggins, Sammy Hagar, Jim Steinman and Eric Carmen are woven into the show.
Luke Ferdinands sings and acts the role of Ren McCormick very well and Sammy Marceddo as Ariel, the minister’s daughter, raises the roof with ‘Holding Out For A Hero’. Together, they gave believable warmth to the romantic song, ‘Almost Paradise’.
There is fine vocal work also from the trio of Kara Murphy, Kay Liddiard and Emily Pogson with the song ’Somebody’s Eyes’ and Kara Murphy is a standout with ‘Let’s Hear It For The Boy’.
Pat Gallagher and Sarah Hull play the Rev. Moore and his wife, Vi. These very experienced actors bring a realistic depth to their roles and both are fine singers, handling their solos with ease.
Zac Izzard as the bullying boyfriend, Chuck, and John Whinfield as the slow country boy give strong performances, too.
From the opening number, ‘Footloose’, until the end of the show, the hard-working large chorus are the strength of this show with their enthusiasm and good singing. They handle Rachel Thornton’s choreography very well.
Jenna Hinton and her band of musicians play the score superbly. Sound by Kyle Maley was well-balanced and Jacob Aquilina’s lighting design added considerable atmosphere to the practical set by Steve Galinec and Anita Davenport.
Anthony Swadling’s assured direction kept it all moving at a good pace and made it a show to remember.
Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at https://justpowerwriting.blogspot.com/.