Ren McCormack is forced to move from Chicago to small town Bomont when his dad walks out on him and his mum. They move in with his aunt and uncle but a bad situation is soon made worse when Ren discovers that the local minister, the Reverend Shaw Moore, has banned dancing.
Ren, bursting with rage over his dad’s departure, determines to fight the ban – and sets in train a catalogue of events that result in lots of the people in that small town realising what really matters to them.
This is a bold show for longstanding local group The Bohemians to take on. For the older ones amongst us, Kevin Bacon immortalised the role of Ren in the original Hollywood version. My 13 year old theatre going companion grew up on the remake. Whichever demographic you fall into, these are big boots to fill, but Ross Macpherson does a great job, fizzing with energy as he trips the light fantastic, 1980s style, across the stage. He’s incredibly watchable, dances like a dream and you find yourself rooting for him from the his first appearance.
This is a talented cast across the board whose infectious energy soon has the audience clapping along. Felicity Thomas is a sweetly sulky Ariel, flexing her independence and grieving in her own way for her own lost family member. They’re taking on anthemic songs in this soundtrack and Thomas’ rendition of Holding Out For A Hero totally holds it owns against the original – although I’d’ve left out the pole dancers. And her best mate, Rusty (Charlotte Jones), serves up an equally swoonsome Let’s Hear It For The Boy as her beloved Willard (Thomas Macfarlane) finally learns how to dance.