Tag Archive: Holding Out for a Hero


I’ve got to confess, I’ve never seen the movie, Footloose (shock, horror). And I dare not mention (even though I have) that I fell asleep during Dirty Dancing. However, this did not put me off going to see a stage version of the former at the New Alexander Theatre, Birmingham, especially as it was directed by Racky Plews whose American Idiot a couple of months ago rated highly with me.

Footloose – New Alexander Theatre – July 4 2016

Like American Idiot, Plews used a formula in Footloose of having all the musical instruments played by the actors on stage. Don’t know why, but it works. Not only that, nothing appeared incongruous with them blending in perfectly.

The initial shock of the night was that the billed star, 2002 Pop Idol Runner-Up, Gareth Gates, would not be appearing. He’d apparently been told to rest his voice for a week. I found that out later. Now I admit, I wouldn’t know a Gareth Gates song if somebody played one to me. Not so the rest of the audience, it seemed as a stunned silence ensued with the news going down like a lead balloon.

However, in typical British let’s back the underdog spirit, people soon warmed to Luke Thornton, a man with the unenviable task of appeasing the Gareth Gates Appreciation Society. Thornton delivered such an excellent portrayal of Willard, though, he received the biggest cheer at the end of the show.

So how did Footloose shape up? I enjoyed it and unlike a couple of previous trips to the theatre, the sound guys got it spot on this time. I’ve already mentioned Racky Plews and the similarities in approach to his other recent show. Footloose, likewise adopted a very abstract, but functional 3D use of the stage, if that makes sense. Utilising height as well as area space on the flat. I did feel the musical numbers waned towards the end, particularly those featuring the Reverend, but that was a minor niggle.

Musical highlights for me were Holding Out For a Hero, Somebody’s Eyes and of course, Footloose. It was also good to have an audience participation reprise at the end where we were invited to get up, clap and dance along to a medley of the more famous show numbers. Now as a performer myself (yes, deary), I always like to give a standing ovation for the hard working folk on stage, but it was great to see the rest of the audience doing so, likewise.

With no Gareth (sorry for keep mentioning the absentee), the biggest named star was Maureen Nolan (of the Nolan Sisters fame) playing Vi Moore. In the lead role of Ren we had Luke Baker with Hannah Price as Ariel Moore and Nigel Lister as the Reverend Shaw Moore (Shaw Moore? Really …???). Now I’ve already mentioned Luke Thornton who stole the show as Willard but coming close, in my opinion, was Joanna Sawyer who was excellent as Rusty.

Accompanying Racky Plews on the production team was Matthew Cole (Choreography), Sara Perks (Designer) and David Keech (Musical Director). Keech also provided drums on stage throughout the show from his cabin shack up on high.

So yet another show I have absolutely loved. Heck, I might even go and watch the film now.

Footloose – New Alexander Theatre – July 4 2016

Cheers.

Nick

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Forget your X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, there’s only one place to get good song and dance and it’s at Brownhills Community School when Aldridge Musical Comedy Society arrive with Dick Whittington and the Return of the Rat.

Following the award winning Dick Whittington in 2010 and last year’s, The Pirate King, Return of the Rat is a brand new, stand-alone pantomime from AMCS full of excellent numbers performed by a fantastic cast.

Songs include: I’m a Believer, One Night in Bangkok, Radio Ga Ga, Holding Out for a Hero and One Day More. I was fortunate to view a rehearsal and was also blown away by another number. I’d like to maintain the element of surprise, but have to admit, this routine is a real Thriller.

When Dick and the crew rescue their old friend, Captain Jack Starling, they enrage the evil water witch, Callista. Intent on revenge, she mounts an assault on London, resurrecting a terrifying enemy, long thought dead. Audience, People of London, Women of the Amazon and Swashbuckling Pirates from the Caribbean, all should beware. King Rat – is back.

Dick Whittington and the Return of the Rat is at Brownhills Community School, Deakin Avenue, Brownhills. WS8 7QG from Thursday 21 to Saturday 23 November at 7.30pm, with additional Saturday Matinee (2.30pm).

Tickets are £10/adult, £8/concessions and £5 for children under 16.

Call 01543 480626 to book or go to the AMCS website www.aldridgemcs.co.uk. Barring that, email me via this site or Twitter and I’ll get somebody to call you.

Aldridge Musical Comedy Society - Dick Whittington and the Return of the Rat

 Cheers.

Nick

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