Fancy footwork in ‘Footloose’ | Theater Review
Nothing instigates dancing more than music, and I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t envy someone who can dance well.
Just watch Gene Kelly in “Singin’ in the Rain,” or Patrick Swayze in “Dirty Dancing.” Or Kevin Bacon in “Footloose.” Now imagine not being allowed to.
That is the premise of “Footloose,” Village Theatre’s Kidstage production. Like many movies these days, it has been turned into a play instead of the other way around.
As a Kidstage production, the entire cast is made up of kids and teenagers. They do a good job with it.
A teenager named Ren moves from Chicago to a tiny farming town called Bomont with his mother. He soon discovers that the entire town is quite repressed.
There is actually a rule in town that there is no dancing allowed inside the town limits. Think about that – no public dances, no ballet and no prom. Other than listening to the radio and the church choir, there is no music of any kind.
And why would this be? Because a few years back some teenagers got killed after a dance. An autopsy revealed that alcohol and drugs were involved.
Parents blamed rock ‘n’ roll and decided that the best way to avoid tragedies was to avoid dancing, which seems to always include alcohol. They think they can probably prevent a few teenage pregnancies, as well.
Considering the fact that this play takes place in the present, not 1950, makes it seem a little ridiculous, but throwing out the baby with the bathwater is common when misfortune occurs.
Leading the charge was The Rev. Shaw, who lost a son that night. He tries to control his daughter, Ariel, who is doing everything she can to upset him, including dating a wild kid named Chuck.
When Ren comes to town, she realizes he’s a better guy. And anybody who can shake up the town is an ally to her. Ren decides to challenge city hall’s ordinance against public dancing along with many classmates.
The flashback is, of course, difference from the movie. Instead of hearing the songs on the soundtrack, we hear the characters singing them. There isn’t much dancing, since that wouldn’t be allowed.
Leading the cast is Coleman Cummings as the exuberant Ren. He’s very good in the part, though he could never replace Kevin Bacon.
The wonderful Delaney Guyer plays the defiant Ariel. Hopefully, we’ll see her in Village Theatre’s adult shows in the future.
The haggard Rev. Shaw is played by Matt Seib. He makes a very sympathetic antagonist.
The part of Ren’s new friend, Willard, goes to Josh Basher. He proves to be a good ally and dancer.
Nathaniel Hiko Addison plays Ariel’s tough boyfriend, Chuck. Alyssa Balogh and Jory Griffith play Ren’s and Ariel’s concerned mothers. Ariel’s best friend, Rusty, is played by Alyssa Gutierrez.
Everybody cut footloose while you can.
“Footloose” is playing at the Village Theatre Second Stage across from the Everett Performing Arts Center from July 23-27. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. For ticket information, call 425-257-8600.