Everybody ready to cut Footloose

The classic 1980s musical Footloose returns to Norwich Theatre Royal next week with a toe-tapping soundtrack and a cast including Brookside star Steven Pinder. EMMA LEE speaks to him.

Dig out your legwarmers, because the high-energy musical based on the classic 1980s movie makes a welcome return to Norwich Theatre Royal.

Footloose tells the story of teenager Ren McCormack, who moves to the small American town of Bomont and shakes it up by bringing dance into the lives of the residents who are troubled by a tragedy from the past.

The show features some massive pop hits including Holding Out For A Hero, Let's Hear It For The Boy and – of course – Kenny Loggins' title track.

Choreographed by Karen Bruce, actor Steven Pinder, best-known for playing the role of Max Farnham in the long-running soap Brookside, heads the cast as Rev Moore alongside a host of top West End and touring performers.

Max Milner, who plays the lead role of Ren, won rave reviews for his role as Troy Bolton in the Asian tour of High School Musical, and he's also appeared in the King and I at the London Palladium, Spend Spend Spend at the Piccadilly Theatre and Carmen at the Royal Albert Hall.

And some familiar faces are returning to Norwich Theatre Royal, including Lorna Want who played Gabriella in the original UK tour of High School Musical and Adam C Booth who played Jake Turner in Never Forget.

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Steven said he's enjoying playing 'stick in the mud' Rev Moore.

The movie starred Kevin Bacon, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest, and the actor says that he used John Lithgow's performance in the movie as a point of reference.

'I knew the film. I remember seeing it when it first came out in about 1983-84. I'd not long left drama school. And I watched it again when I had the meeting for the part,' he said.

'There's no dancing allowed in the town of Bomont because it promotes the idea of drugs and drink. America takes the issue of drinking very seriously and you can't have a drink until you are the age of 21.

'Rev Moore's a very powerful man in the town and he dictates that there can't be any dancing or cavorting. He's a bit of a stick in the mud, but he's not really a baddie.'

Steven has been on the tour with the show since the start of the year. And he's no stranger to Norfolk. His sister lives on the border with Suffolk and at Christmas he starred in the King's Lynn Corn Exchange's pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk. However it will be his first time at Norwich Theatre Royal.

'Norwich is as far east as we are going. It's a very high-energy show, so by the time we get to Norwich we'll be a lot of thin people. It's good for the heart rate, and I don't do that much dancing,' he said.

'I've never done the Theatre Royal, but I believe it's very nice. The cast are looking forward to it – they like it in Norwich,' he said.

Steven trained at the Drama Centre in London and has an extensive theatre and TV CV. He has recently appeared as Emmet in a UK tour of Keeping Up Appearances, Paul in a UK tour of Absent Friends and Gifford in Last of the Summer Wine.

Steven, of course, is most well-known for playing the character Max Farnham in the long-running soap Brookside for more than a decade.

His recent television roles include Hotel Babylon, Emmerdale, the Bill, Doctors, Holby, Casualty and Crossroads.

What made him want to become an actor?

'There are many things that influenced me,' he said. 'Watching films – Charles Laughton was one of the best actors I'd ever seen. I remember watching his performances and thinking I'd not mind trying a bit of that.

'Actors are trying to be someone else. That's what drives somebody to become an actor,' he said.

Does Steven have a preference between working on stage or screen?

'No, not really. When I was in the middle of Brookside in the 90s I would have said I prefer the theatre because I hadn't done it for five or six years. But I don't really have a preference. I like the reaction you get from an audience. When it works, that's when it beats TV,' he said.

n Footloose is at Norwich Theatre Royal from May 23-28, �27.50-�6.50, 01603 630000, www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk