REVIEW: Footloose – Island Savoyards Summer Workshop

They’ve done it again! Last year I watched theSavoyards’ Summer Workshop present We Will Rock You and was amazed at the standard achieved in just six days – and this year the youngsters attending the week-long workshop have again demonstrated their admirable talent and hard work as they performed the musical ‘Footloose’. I am delighted to say that the standard set last year has been matched in 2022!

The sheer ability to learn and remember, within a week, the dances, lines, lyrics and harmonies in a show lasting well over an hour is in itself a huge achievement: most adult musicals are in rehearsal for three months or more. Yet for the most part the performers were word, note and step perfect.The harmonies in some of the chorus numbers, notably the transition from the first rendition of the title song into ‘On Any Sunday’, were beautiful.

Perfectly cast as Ren McCormack, Eddie Moor was the kingpin of the show, onstage most of the time and with a role demanding acting, singing and dancing talents, all of which Eddie demonstrated in abundance. Alongside him, Chloe Neale was in fine voice as Ariel, her acting ability evident as she portrayed different sides to this complex character. I also enjoyed the scenes with her girl friends Rusty, Urleen and Wendy Jo (Kaitlyn Donovan, Ava Cowan and Enid Rees) who again showed a talent for comedy and some wonderful dance moves.

Jay Sangha also proved his comedy worth as Willard, the slow-witted non-dancer who nevertheless befriends Ren in his new school, and wins the love of Rusty, while Issac Fox was suitably mean and threatening as Chuck.

It is always difficult in a group of young performers to find actors capable of taking on older roles, but the older generation of Bomont were well cast: Chantou Spit was believable as Ren’s mother Ethel, while Miles Harvey and Hannah Crawford worked well together as Reverance Shaw and his wife Vi. Amanda Mitchell-Vale was delightfully aloof and severe as Principal Clark, and I enjoyed Scarlett Green’s presentation of Coach Dunbar’s PE class.

The principal actors were well supported by a large cast of other characters, dancers, cowgirls, parishioners and chorus singers, every one of whom contributed to a highly entertaining show. The energy and delight in performing onstage was evident, especially in the chorus numbers, and even to the end of a long a demanding performance. I am in awe of the way director Jack Tutt, with choreographer Ashleigh Mackness and Musical Director Indra Riches, has put together such a fabulous production in such a short time.

Everyone associated with ‘Footloose’ is to be congratulated for the work, effort and talent that has gone into this show; I hope the young cast enjoyed rehearsing and performing as much as I and the rest of the audience enjoyed watching it, and seeing the smiling faces on stage I suspect they did. Hopefully we will see many of them performing again on Island stages – I look forward to that, and to seeing what the Island Savoyards’ Summer Workshop can come up with next year!

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