The Scotsman 13 May 2024

Footloose is remembered as the heart-throb musical that was not Dirty Dancing. It was the one that cemented the reputation of a 26-year-old Kevin Bacon, with his white T-shirt, tight jeans and $1500 spiky haircut. “The energy raised during the finger-snapping dance numbers is infectious,” said one reviewer.

Bacon played Ren McCormack, the city kid who moves from Chicago to sleepy Bomont and is aghast to find the town council has outlawed dancing. The ban came in after the local minister’s son died in a drink-drive accident following a wild night out. Thanks to his charisma – and cool moves – Ren gets the bylaw overturned and the town on its feet again. Cue big chorus number.

With the insistent theme tune by Kevin Loggins and a soundtrack including Let’s Hear It For The Boy by Deniece Williams and Holding Out For A Hero by Bonnie Tyler, Footloose has 1980s written all over it. But, says director Douglas Rintoul, as he prepares to stage the musical at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, you would be underestimating the show if you were to write it off as some kind of nostalgic throwback. [READ MORE]

By Mark Fisher

MARK FISHER is a freelance theatre critic and feature writer based in Edinburgh and has written about theatre in Scotland since the late-1980s. He is a theatre critic for The Guardian, a former editor of The List magazine and a frequent contributor to the Scotsman and other publications. He is the co-editor of the play anthology Made in Scotland (1995), and the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide (2012) and How to Write About Theatre (2015) – all Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. He is also the editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls and What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book (both Mark Fisher Ltd).