Footloose exploded onto the stage of the Grand Opera House last night bringing Belfast a taste of how musicals should be — as well as something of a shock to the audience as they screamed with delight.
This is the touring company of the original West End musical based on the film starring Kevin Bacon. A simple story of a teenager transported from the big city to a small town where frivolities such as music and dancing are banned. The wayward teen must battle against the austere reverend who controls the town and happens to be the father of the girl he likes.
The stage version isn't quite as risqué as the film, but it certainly has its fair share of pelvic thrusts and teenage rebellion. The production’s 80s anthems will bring many women in the audience back to the days of full throttle aerobics lessons.
The production itself is most certainly full throttle and it has to be said that, although the story is based around a guy, the girls danced and sang circles around the boys last night. The four principal girls gave an amazing rendition of that old classic Hero which drove the crowd wild.
This is a big production with a large cast and large voices. It certainly hasn't lost anything in the transition from screen to stage. The audience was kept both enthralled and laughing during the entire performance as an excellent script was teamed with some fabulous musical numbers.
It wasn't all about the girls, though. Male leads Ren and Willard were perfect in their parts. The finale of Footloose was performed with every bit as much energy as it was at the beginning, with feet flying and dancers leaping in the air.
This was the West End at its best brought to Belfast. A must-see.