Newest Review: ... boys, Chuck. But she also fantasises the newcomer in town, Ren. Naturally, the attraction becomes deeper and their relationship begins to b... more
EVERYBODY loves to dance, sing and act...
Footloose - The Musical
Member Name: curious_tan
Footloose - The Musical
Advantages: Full pack of energy and emotions with talented cast
Disadvantages: None except that it toured around UK in just few months
This is an adaptation of the film (of the same title) released in 1984 starring Kevin Bacon, Footloose was one of the classical-teenage films like Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, Fame and Grease. It was first adapted for the Broadway production in 1998 and had its debut UK tour in 2004 which could be compared to other screen-to-stage productions such as Fame and Saturday Night Fever, or even the newly musical late this year, Dirty Dancing.
THE STORY revolves in the life of a teenager, Ren McCormack who happened to moved out (together with his mother) from the metropolitan city of Chicago (USA) to a quiet town of Bomont (Hicksville, USA). Being young and vulnerable, Ren has his own personal problems to solve - dealing with the situation that his father abandoned him. Despite his difficulties to the new environment, he carries on his passion in dancing – trying his best to convince his new friends or even the entire community of Bomont to embrace again ‘dancing’ as part of their lives. Unfortunately, Ren encountered a big resistance from the community, especially from the local church minister, Reverend Shaw Moore who happened to have a beautiful daughter, Ariel. Ariel is rebellious, quite popular and flirting with one of the bad boys, Chuck. But she also fantasises the newcomer in town, Ren. Naturally, the attraction becomes deeper and their relationship begins to blossom. At the end, they find out that they have in common: longing for a father’s attention, a loss in the family, and a yearning for freedom that youth could have.
TECHNICALLY, the production was able to capture the interest of the audience both in the Opera House and Meralco Theater. Frankly, I like the overall production in Belfast compared to the one held in Manila. Watching it for the second time gave me the chance to have another closer look of the different characters and how each one of them act to make the production interesting, dynamic and lively. The orchestra made the musical more breathtaking and made every song wonderful to hear - as you feel you are part of the cast singing on stage! The Manila production was not really powerful due to the fact that it did not use a live orchestra and also the venue was quite big and not having a good sound system for such musical. However, there were good reviews in the Manila productions for the lead actors/actresses especially who played the roles of Ren, Ariel and even to the three close friends of Ariel. Most of the members of the Manila cast were ‘young’ and not veteran stage performers, but the production went well for two weeks run. The direction and choreography were perfectly executed by the cast, especially the dance steps where you could feel the energy and vibrant, which I could personally say that they are still ‘in’ or have ‘charisma’ to both young and old generations.
Both venues were able to transform the stage into a real-to-life back draft of the story: church, gym, school, gas station/garage which contributes to the success of the musical. In particular, I loved the scenes of Ren and Ariel while watching the train to pass by, and eventually they sung the song, ‘Almost Paradise’ romantically. The rest of the characters were also fascinating especially for the roles of the three close friends of Ariel – backing her up all the time, including a classmate of Ren who became his buddy. Also, the colourful costumes were perfectly done which reminded me of the 1980’s fashion. Well, most importantly, the show highlighted the 80’s popular songs: Almost Paradise, Let’s Hear It for the Boy, Holding out for a Hero, and of course the theme song, Footloose.
The musical has a lot to offer especially for the young generation. It tackles teenage problems relating to parenting and peers pressure. Indirectly, drugs and alcohol were also part of the story which is the main reason why Reverend Moore and the rest of the elders of the community decided to ban all dancing and parties. It started five years ago when his only son, together with other friends died from a car accident after a dance party. It also about teenage rebellion – young people who disregard community rules that hinder them to be free; and also those young children who want liberty and independence, away from their parents’ never-ending house rules.
ON THE OTHER HAND, ‘Footloose’ is about our failures and successes in life. These are the keys to make our lives interesting and meaningful. Failures make us strong and drive us to move on - to be more confident to face another hurdle and use it to achieve a higher level of living; while successes give us the adrenalin to continue with our dreams and share whatever rewards from it to other people.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE, I loved ‘Footloose’ very much, maybe because the lead character (Ren) was able to show some of my personal traits - happy-go-lucky person, adventurous, with full of determination to do things worth pursuing, and love to dance! Finally, even though the show was completed its tour around Britain, I still recommend to buy the soundtrack of the musical which gives the complete recording of the show from start to finish – as if you are listening to its non-stop live performance. Or maybe the DVD format of the film. But frankly, the live-stage musical production could not be compared to the original story on film having different medium of productions, thus brings different outcomes and impacts to the audience. Surprisingly, I loved them both!
Some basic facts about the shows:
The 2006 UK tour/ show was directed and choreographed by Olivier award winner, Karren Bruce; and the cast the includes: Derek Hough (as Ren), Lorna Want (Ariel), Reverend Moore (Stephen McGann), and Johnny Shentall (Chuck). The tour visited the following areas from January-March 2006: Cardiff, Glasgow, Southhampton, Birmingham, Stoke, Manchester, Belfast, Edinburgh, Bristol, Woking, and Plymouth.
The 2005 Manila Production was directed by Chari Arespacochaga, James Laforteza/Rene Sagaran (choreographers), Kalila Aguilos (costume designer/stylist); and the cast includes: Jay-R and Jonard Yanzon (Ren), Iya Villania (Ariel), Reverend Moore (Audie Gemora), and Vi Moore (Agot Isidro).
Summary: A retro show for young and old... bringing to life the movie shown two decades ago
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