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Thursday, June 30, 2022


“Footloose The Musical” is an enjoyable production. I think its youthful excitement and energy will be particularly appreciated by the young folk. So, since it is school holidays- there you go! (Review by Keith Millar)

They are back! After a two-year interruption caused by the worldwide Covid pandemic, Johannesburg’s Northcliff High School are back in Durban and on stage at the Playhouse Drama Theatre.

This is the 22nd time that the school has toured their annual musical offering to Durban and this time they are showcasing the lively production, Footloose The Musical.

The stage version of Footloose is based on the 1984 movie which starred a young Kevin Bacon. It relates the story of a young man, Ren McCormack, and his mom Ethel, who relocate from Chicago to the small town of Bomont.

Due to a tragic accident several years prior to their move, when four youngsters lost their lives in a motor accident after a party, the town has imposed a strict ban on dancing and partying.

(Left: Justin Roux, Thabang Ramanala, Lyndan Meyers, Shane Mehlo, Owen Pace & Lyndan Meyers)

Ren sets out to persuade the town’s elders that dancing is a celebration of the joy in people’s hearts and that the ban should be overturned.

The musical features popular songs such as Holding Out for a Hero, Let’s Hear It for The Boy, Mama Says, and Almost Paradise.

Northcliff’s production features a cast of 29, a nine-piece band and is supported by a technical crew of 10. They bring with them all the youthful exuberance, energy and passion one has come to expect from one of their productions.

Perhaps it is unfair to single out individuals in what is such a whole-hearted and enthusiastic effort from the entire cast, but there are a few notable performances.

(Right: Alexi Hasell & Lyndan Meyers)

Lyndan Meyers as Ren McCormack is particularly strong. He has a very good singing voice and handles the acting component with aplomb. He could have a future in the industry.

Others of note were Angelica Rennie as Rusty (amazing hair), a compelling actress. Owen Pace as Willard Hewitt - he provides most of the humour in the piece and does it well. As Ariel Moore, Alexi Hasell is feisty and agreeable. She is the love interest of Ren, and the daughter of the main protagonist of the town’s ban on dancing, the Reverend Shaw Moore. Nicolaas de Klerk puts in a mature and effective performance in this role.

I am not a fan of back-tracks, so to hear a live band was an absolute pleasure. While there are always deficiencies when the musicians are hidden in the orchestra pit, they acquitted themselves very well.

In a fast-moving production such as this with many scene changes, sets can present a problem. But the large rustic set-pieces on wheels used on this occasion work well to depict the various locations. The work of the technical crew was spot-on in this regard.

One cannot help but sing the praises of Northcliff High School’s Musical Producer Nick Jourdan. This is his 38th production with the school. In the past, he has unearthed and nurtured talents such as Cornell Cruise, Samantha Peo and Jonathan Roxmouth.

This production shows that he has not lost his ability to get the best out of young people and to provide them with an inspirational and joyful experience. Long may it last.

Footloose The Musical is an enjoyable production. I think its youthful excitement and energy will be particularly appreciated by the young folk. So, since it is school holidays- there you go!

Footloose is on at the Playhouse Drama Theatre until Sunday July 3, 2022. Shows are at 19h30 Thursday to Saturday with an additional Saturday performance at 14h00. Sunday’s final show is at 15h00. Tickets are between R100 and R120 and can be booked at Webtickets. – Keith Millar