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Footloose Review, November 2017 - Basingstoke Gazette

There is nothing quite like live theatre; you can see the film or watch television but the exuberance and enthusiasm of a young company performing live on stage is for me irresistible.

Basingstoke Amateur Theatrical Society has been delivering amazing musical productions for close on 60 years; it is their sixtieth anniversary next year and still the talented youngsters keep coming who are then supported in all departments by the more experienced BATS members. It is a magic formula which Basingstoke is rightly proud.

The story of Footloose revolves around the family of the Rev Shaw Moore played convincingly by Stephen Westwood, an experienced BATS actor with a good singing voice. Saddened by the death of his son and three friends, five years previously he manages to persuade the council to ban all dancing. His wife played by Sally Manning and daughter Ariel, Rhiannon Mone plead with him. Both parts require beautiful singing voices and Sally and Rhiannon are gloriously blessed.

This energetic production is directed and choreographed by Martyn Knight with Gary J. Myers as Assistant to the Director and there are many special moments to appreciate.   Still Rockin' with Cowboy Bob (BenWaines) and company was sheer joy because the performers themselves were obviously having such fun. The professional orchestra directed by Jules Dance were able to show their undoubted skills here but they were also able to tone everything right down for the outstandingly beautiful duet between (Sally Manning) and Ethel (Liz Scorey). 

Luke Sayers playing the 'bad boy' has a rich baritone voice and his performance of Dancing is not a Crime was a triumph. There were so many good voices on that stage and Rhiannon Mone and Luke Sayers duetting with Almost Paradise was so delightfully romantic. 

Jade Hollingshead as Rusty led an enthusiastic ensemble of dancers (they had three dance captains) and singers that will make you wish you could get up on stage and dance with them!

Hannah Williams