With themes of dance, responding to change, grief, the voice of youth and reuniting a community, Footloose is a great platform to exhibit the many talents of WOW Youth Musical Theatre.

Based on the 1980s screen sensation, Footloose sizzles with spirit and fun and tells the story of Ren McCormack, a teenage boy from Chicago who with his mother moves to the small town of Bomont. Ren finds himself at odds with most of the town, especially the Reverend Moore who has convinced the town to outlaw dancing, which Ren finds unbelievable. Ren sets out, with the help of Ariel, the minister’s daughter and Willard who becomes his best friend, to let the teenagers and the rest of the town dance. And heal.

As soon as the curtain rises, it is difficult to remember that this is a youth group on stage.

The performers are utterly professional, and are the complete ‘triple threat’ with their drama, singing and dancing throughout this show.

The strong cast features a host of great characters and wonderful, sensitive and thoughtful performances, and their excellence on stage makes it an impossible task to pick out one or two. The leads are all sensational and the minor roles and ensemble were also faultless. The plot is truly enlivened by a host of great characters who act, sing and dance their way through the story seemingly effortlessly.

With a large cast, the dance routines could have proved a challenge but Martine Burt’s choreography, along with her direction, is always imaginative and full of energy and the young people embrace it with enthusiasm. The singing is clear and resonant with good control and projection, and the harmonies throughout the show are sublime.

It is impossible to fault any part of this production. Under the guidance of the Stage Manager and her deputies, the sound and lighting for this show is impeccable and the wardrobe team has done a sterling job. The backstage crew works tirelessly to get the set perfectly in place, the properties, make-up and microphones teams haven’t set a foot wrong and without the professionalism of the chaperones, the show would not go on!

The Musical Director for Footloose is Jessamy Bowditch, who has worked her magic on the score and the young people clearly recognise her talents and respond - and their joy is apparent in their singing. The five extremely accomplished musicians working with Jessamy are a delight to hear and are adept at accompanying the youngsters rather than overshadowing them.

Martine Burt is an exceptionally talented director with the Midas touch, and so the foresight of the Trustees to appoint her as WOW’s Creative Consultant is to be commended and will thus safeguard the excellence that we see onstage today into the future.

All the young people in Footloose are a credit to WOW Youth Musical Theatre, to their families and to themselves. Those 10 members bidding farewell after this show will miss the camaraderie and the exceptional training in all aspects of Musical Theatre and we shall miss their exuberance on the stage.

Tickets for Footloose are still available for tonight, Thursday April 4, Friday April 5, and the two performances on Saturday, April 6.