Footloose at Newcastle Theatre Royal
By Michelle Hedley
This visit was not only the first time I had ever seen Footloose, but was also the first time I had ever seen a performance with captions. After finding out about STAGETEXT and captioned performances last summer (can’t believe they also celebrated their 10th anniversary – where have I been?!!!)I booked tickets for this performance a few months ago and time has passed very slowly!
It was also my first time to not be on the stalls (where I always sit to lipread as much as possible) and so was a bit worried I wouldn’t like it up in the Grand Circle.
Footloose opened by giving everyone a heart attack!!! Normally the lights dim slowly, a voiceover announces various things (never know what!) and then the intro music starts. Not Footloose! The lights went out and there was an explosion of sound and bright lights all in a split second that made everyone jump!! What a start!
Each and every song had such boundless energy and I was amazed at the talent of the cast. They were all brilliant dancers and singers but a special mention must go to Max Milner who appeared as the lead Ren and also Giovanni Spano who was very talented playing Willard. The music, singing and dancing was so infectious I badly wanted to get on the stage and dance with them as I suspect did a lot of others!!
At first the captions were very alien to me as I had not quite expected them to be so separate from the stage. I found it a bit strange to have to take my eyes off the stage, read the two or three lines of captions and then quickly back onto the stage due to the positioning of the units. I think I may need to experiment a little with the seating at this theatre and would be interested to hear from anyone else who goes to the Theatre Royal. I was sat towards the middle of the Grand Circle and maybe it is better to be more towards the sides? Time will tell. That said though, they must have worked as I came away from the performance knowing all the words to each song and knowing what the story was which was previously unheard of!
I was able to follow every part of the storyline (except the song when four different characters were singing different lines and I suspect it was impossible to caption this!) and every song!
Thanks to the captioning I had 100% access to a performance for the first time in my entire life and it was sheer heaven to be a part of that experience! After seeing so many musicals in my life, both West End and regional, I only wish I could turn back the clock and see all the previous musicals with some of my favourite stars again, but this time with captions!
Bring on my next show in March!
What's on next?
20th June 2013
National Theatre (The Shed), London