Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

Q_A with Footloose director Frank Trimble.doc


Mark Goucher, Michael Rose, Tristan Baker and Jason Haigh-Ellery
Wales Millennium Centre
January 10, 2006

08700 40 2000 get on the phone, ring that number, book your ticket, don’t miss
this fantastic explosion of a great musical! You won’t just come out dancing, your
heart will be lifted and your head will stay full of joy for weeks after. This is a
show that really does impress. The superb music lashes your body. Right from
the start you will feel the beat pulsing inside you. But this is much more than just
a rock and roll show. It’s a top rate piece of musical theatre, these people know
exactly what they are doing and how to wow an audience.

It’s not without its quiet moments, equally compelling and convincing. Cheryl
Baker, here as a mom, the reverend’s wife is a fine actress and her great singing
voice has lost none of that Bucks Fizz verve. Footloose is Ren’s story and of
course he gets the girl in the end Cheryl Baker’s daughter, Ariel. She’s played
with such dynamism by Lorna Want, like no vicar’s daughter you’re ever likely to

Ren, a teenager has left the bright lights of Chicago with his mother, after his
father has walked out on them, to find a new life in the quiet town of Beaumont in
Texas. There everything, especially the opportunity for young people to enjoy
themselves is very limited. The Reverend and the School Principal have a tight
hold on it all. Ren sets out to change things; as he succeeds, he is eventually no
longer regarded as a troublemaker but a very fine young man and an asset to the
community, but don’t let that fool you, his great zest for life is in no way
diminished. Derek Hough, who plays Ren, is an even more larger than life figure,
acting, dancing and singing with a panache and charm that has us and all the
girls on stage eating out of his hand.

And he’s not alone, every member of this great ensemble is giving well over
100% and having a great time giving it. Come the end even the oldies, along with
the whole full WMC auditorium are signing, dancing and clapping – it’s a great
party – not to be missed. Emmerdale favourite Stephen McGann as the killjoy
reverend handles the drama and the slower numbers with great conviction.
Giovanni Spano as the wimp who can’t quite make it with the girls gives a
delightfully observed performance and once Ren has sorted him out finds that
spirited energy that is one of the strong points of the show. He’s equalled in
every way by Stevie Tate-Bauer as Rusty, his long-suffering girl friend, another
absolute joy to watch.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

Classic tale of teen rebellion and repression features a delightful
combination of dance choreography and realistic and touching performances.
When teenager Ren (Danny Lindgren) and his family move from big-city
Chicago to a small town in the West, he's in for a real case of culture shock.
Though he tries hard to fit in, the streetwise Ren can't quite believe he's
living in a place where rock music and dancing are illegal. There is one small
pleasure, however: Ariel (Emily Huston), a troubled but lovely blonde with a
jealous boyfriend. and a Bible-thumping minister father, who is responsible
for keeping the town dance-free. Ren and his classmates want to do away
with this ordinance, especially since the senior prom is around the corner,
but only Ren has the courage to initiate a battle to abolish the outmoded ban
and revitalize the spirit of the repressed townspeople. Fast-paced drama is
filled with such now-famous hit songs as the title track and "Let's Hear It
for the Boy."

                          1984 - USA - 107 min. - Feature, Color
      AMG Rating
          Director Herbert Ross
       Genre/Type Drama, Musical, Rock Musical, Musical Romance, Musical Drama
                   Not For Children, Mild Violence, Brief Nudity, Adult Situations, Adult
     MPAA Rating PG
                   church, dance [art], daughter, midwestern, rurality, small-town,
                   Culture Clash, Fighting the System, Small-Town Life, Authority
                   Figures, High School Life, Fish Out of Water, Religious Zealotry
                   Earnest, Passionate, Compassionate, Confrontational, Rousing, Warm,
           Moods Mood Enhancers
        Box office $34 million / Among top grossing films of 1984
            Set In city, rural, small town, 1980s
        Color type Movielab Color
       Produced by Paramount
                   DVD Release(s)                                               Add New Link
          See Also

                      Click here to buy this DVD/video.
  Product Purchase
                      Click here to buy posters

      Movie Trailer Click here to see a trailer for this movie.

                    Fundamentalist minister Shaw Moore (John Lithgow) has spearheaded a
                    ban on dancing in his community. The local teenagers, including Moore's
                    daughter Ariel (Lori Singer), chafe against the restriction, but there isn't
                    much that they can do about it within city limits. Enter Chicago
                    expatriate Ren (Kevin Bacon), who likes to dance and doesn't like to take
                    orders. On its surface just another kids vs. adults opus, Footloose
                    transcends its artistic limitations, and the result is one of the most
                    exhilarating films of the early 1980s. The mid-film highlight involving
                    two speeding cars and a daredevil Kevin Bacon is worth the admission
                    price in itself. Best of all, the "stock" characters are wholly believable:
even John Lithgow isn't a double-dyed villain, but a loving family man sincerely concerned
about the moral well-being of his flock. — Hal Erickson

In addition to boasting one of the most popular movie soundtracks of all time, Footloose made
a star of Kevin Bacon, the rebel with a cause at the center of this infectious celebration of
dance that became a cultural phenomenon. Footloose is also one of the earliest movies to be
clearly inspired by MTV, with its episodic narrative structure and songs staged as miniature
emotional operas. When Bacon's bad boy pours out his angst through dance and aggressive
gymnastics in a closed factory, swigging from a beer while blowing out plumes of smoke, all
to the tune of "Holding out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler, his mythic posturing is made in
music video heaven. But there's a lot more than teenage disobedience in Footloose. It's also a
sensitive portrait of Midwestern values, which don't clash nearly so much as Bacon's dance
proponents or John Lithgow's worried churchgoers think they do. Lithgow's performance is
especially complicated and heartfelt; the reluctant villain because he stands between the teens
and their desire to cut loose, he really only wants to save them from themselves, having
personally experienced tragedy caused by recklessness. Dianne Wiest balances her husband's
conscience with her daughter's desire to embrace youth, making for another stand-out
performance. Genuinely rousing, if perhaps willfully naïve and formulaic, Footloose is most
winning during its dance sequences, the specialty of director/choreographer Herbert Ross. The
movie held such lingering appeal in the popular consciousness that it inspired a successful
Broadway musical — almost 15 years after its theatrical release. — Derek Armstrong

To top