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Everybody cut loose

Once they were sisters singing. Now the Nolan girls are going solo and turning in some great roles in musical theatre.

Like Maureen, on stage at the Liverpool Empire next week (October 13-18) but not as Mrs Johnstone in the scouse musical Blood Brothers, a role all five Nolan sisters have played.

It took them into the Guinness Book of Records, she proudly tells me.

Now she is breaking new ground, playing Vi Moore, peacemaker wife to a stern clergyman, in the hit show Footloose, on a fourth UK tour following two successful runs in London. And she is happy, for it gives her some meaty acting – and a little singing.

She said: ‘This show is the best fun ever, with some fantastic singing and dancing. But it has a dark side, for this is a family with problems they won’t admit, especially my reverend husband.

‘The tragedy of the lost son is glossed over. I try to keep the peace between husband and daughter and I know many in the audience identify with that. It’s challenging and I get to sing two lovely songs.’

Footloose is all about dancing, banned in this small rural American town for all the wrong reasons. Along comes super cool teenager Ren from the big city, slick on his feet and a natural leader for the town’s rebellious youngsters.

It’s full-on confrontation between the generations, packed with fast, slick dance routines and a great soundtrack serving up classic 80s hits including Holding Out For a Hero, Let’s Hear it for the Boy and the title song.

Footloose was a much-loved film starring Kevin Bacon and Sarah Jessica Parker, who both became cultural icons. It transferred to Broadway and then the West End to great acclaim, directed and choreographed by the Olivier award winner Karen Bruce.

Said Nolan: ‘The show has a message that truth is all important. It also celebrates music and dance and this young cast are amazing. I don’t see how anyone can watch it and not be up on their feet dancing.’

She was a showbiz child, singing with her sisters from the age of nine, almost without a break, until the final split in 2004. Since then she has been Jill in Mum’s the Word, Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers, Sadie in Girls Behind, among many TV shows and pantomimes.

She said: ‘Bernie paved the way and I thought why not. If I was still singing and jigging in clubs at 60 somebody should shoot me!

‘I was used to talking to audiences so Mum’s the Word was a good start because it was monologues. Other roles just kept turning up and Vi is one of the best.’