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What a joy to see so many young performers performing this musical.  Richard Alexander had some good ideas and some new takes on the lib, which gave the production both humour and pathos – and some very good performances.

The music is a hard sing, which showed in the voice production on the last night.  

I thought Terry Cooper as Ren danced, sung and acted his way beautifully through a full-on part, you could see he just loved it.  His counterpart Ariel, played by Kim Albone gave us a good rounded character, and she was expressive in her numbers.  I particularly liked Almost Paradise, which showed that they could both put over a softer number with feeling, as well as belt out the more up-tempo numbers.

Josh Thomson showed us once again that he is a master of comic characters and timing – he gave Willard so many sides. Mama Says was a high point of the show, with good backing from Luke Murphy, Reece Lowen and Stuart Grey.

I liked Kate Johnson’s choreography, not too taxing, but it looked good and created all the right atmospheres for the music.  More smiley faces would have enhanced some of the numbers.

I loved Lorna Trapp as Vi – she put real meaning into her lib, bringing the part strength and purpose, and Can You Find It In Your Heart? was very moving.  Andy Sizmur, in what I understand was his first part in a musical, did a good job with a difficult part, I just needed a bit more depth and contrast to his emotions.  But a good first outing.  

Mel Ramsey gave a lot of warmth and purpose to her role as Ren’s mother, and she matched Vi in style and depth in their duet, and subsequent trio with Ariel.

The bad boy, Dave Corbett, certainly made the audience hate him when he hit Ariel, a good foil to the other clean-cut characters, and his two comedic side-kicks Travis (David Robinson) and Lyle (Marc Rolfe) gave us yet another dimension with their sly but funny moments.  

The trio of girls were led in all ways by Kirsty Day as Rusty – she had the voice, energy, stage presence and speed of speech to do the character justice, ably backed up by Ella Voice (Wendy Jo) and Kelsey McDermott (Urleen).

The other adult principal roles were accomplished well, and added to the undeniable strength of the cast.

The set was good – and worked well, with nice lighting plots - nothing too revolutionary, but suitable for the feel of the production.

Paul Ramsey had obviously worked hard with the music, which on the whole was excellent, and his band sounded good, if a little loud in the underscoring.

I liked the bows taking place during the megamix – I hate conventional bows  – the only observation was that I would have liked to see the mood carried on with the cast gradually leaving the stage.

So, overall a very good production, and one that everyone can be rightly proud of, I enjoyed the show, and left feeling totally energised.

Nova Horley


GRIFFIN PLAYERS

FOOTLOOSE” review date: 16TH June 2012

LUTON LIBRARY THEATRE, LUTON

Director:  Richard Alexander MD:  Paul Ramsey

Choreographer: Kate Johnson

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