Tales of redemption are at the heart of Footloose, says Mark Roberts who takes on the role of the Rev Shaw Moore for Worthing Musical Theatre Company.
“He is kind of the villain of the piece when it starts out. He is the despot. He rules over the town with a rod of iron. As a result of an accident where four young people were killed, one of whom was his son, he has got it into his head that it all comes back to dance and so he bans dance.”
Into this tale of youth, rebellion and romance, comes city-boy Ren. He thinks his life is over when he is forced to move to Bomont, an American backwater, especially when the dance ban makes things worse than he ever feared...
“The Rev Shaw Moore is overbearing, but the show is also about his redemption, just as the whole show is about stories of redemption. The lead man has moved from Chicago because his father walked out on them and he has moved with his mother to live with his mother’s sister in Bomont. It is about him coming to terms with the loss of his father and finding redemption in his relationship with the town’s people. The daughter of the reverend is the love interest for the leading man. She starts off as an off-the-rails girl. Her father is trying to keep her so far down that she reacts the other way. She is kicking against the reverend because he has forgotten he has still got a daughter after the loss of his son. She is trying to attract his attention, and there is redemption in her story as well. Plus you have got all the old songs from the 1980s. It is a wonderful show for young people, in my view. There are lots of lovely numbers all the way through, and it is a great feeling from my perspective to see all the young people dancing.”
For Mark, this is his second show with Worthing Musical Theatre Company: “I joined them for the last show, which was 9 to 5, the Dolly Parton show. That was May last year. For me, it was the appeal of the part last year. I was playing the villainous boss. That’s always a dream role, to be rotten to everyone on stage... which probably says something about my psychology!
“I had been in Sussex Musical Productions until they folded in Worthing which was about 2010. I had not played in the Pavilion Theatre since then. I live in Rustington and I have been doing shows in Bognor with BROS and also some shows in Littlehampton. 9 to 5 was my first show back in Worthing.”
Footloose will be in the Pavilion Theatre this week from March 16–18 at 7.30pm with 2.30pm Thursday and Saturday matinees. Ren McCormack (the Kevin Bacon part in the film) will be played by Matt James; the Reverend’s daughter Aerial Moor by Charley Moyce; and Vi Moore (his wife) by Suzanne Britten.
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