MAUREEN Nolan admits she's having a blast in the rock 'n' roll musical Footloose which comes to Manchester on Monday.

Based on the Eighties' hit movie, Footloose tells the story of a city boy who moves to a country town where dancing is seen as the devil's work.

Maureen plays Vi Moore, wife of the town's fire and brimstone preacher determined to keep evil rock and roll away from the town's youngsters.

"It's just pure fun from start to finish." said Maureen who with her sisters was one of the UK's most successful girl groups of all time.

"It's packed with Eighties numbers and I'd forgotten how great that music is," she said.

Maureen co-stars with Gareth Gates who first broke through on the TV talent search Pop Idol and has subsequently starred in a host of West End musicals.

"Gareth is such a genuinely nice person," said Maureen. "I think he's a revelation in this show. He has a comedy role which is very different for him and it shows what a versatile performer he is."

Maureen is equally impressed with the rest of the cast.

"They all act sing, act and play instruments, there's so much energy in the show," she said. "It's hard to believe that everything on the show is absolutely live.

"The youngsters have decided that they are going to get me to learn an instrument by the end of the tour. We will be on the road for around nine months and they are convinced they can do it.

"At the moment they are steering me towards the flute, but we'll see."

Maureen spent over 30 years with the Nolan Sisters. Hits such as I'm in the Mood For Dancing and Don't Make Waves made them regulars on Top of the Pops and the group became massive stars in Japan.

"I'd never in a million years thought I'd be doing what I'm doing now," said Maureen. "I was quite a shy person.

"We'd all done a bit of panto but that's not really acting and then Bernie got a part in a show and did such a good job with it.

"At that time I was looking for something to get into and just thought that if she could do it then perhaps I could give it a try."

Maureen's first stage role came in the production Mum's the Word.

"It was based on stories from real women and I was in it for about a year," she said.

From there she was asked to play Mrs Johnstone in the Willy Russell musical Blood Brothers, three of her sisters have also played the role over the years.

"I have tried to learn from everyone I have acted with in the show," she said. "You can never stop learning.

"This year I had to choose between Footloose and Blood Brothers and I just thought that after 10 years it would be good for me to have a change.

In 2009 the Nolans got together for a series of shows but fans expecting another reunion may be disappointed.

"You can never say never," said Maureen. "We did have plans for a tour in 2012 but then Bernie was taken ill. When she passed away we thought about continuing with the tour as a tribute to her but it was just too soon for any of us.

"I think we'll all have to have zimmer frames if we go out on the road now," she laughed. "Plus it would be very difficult to prise Colleen away from Loose Women these days. But you never know."

However for the next few months it is Footloose which is getting Maureen's full attention.

"It's one of those shows which is just so enjoyable to be in and such fun for the audience. We are getting some fantastic comments and the reaction in the theatres has been tremendous."

Footloose the Musical, Palace Theatre, Manchester, Monday, March 14 to Saturday, March 19. Details from 0844 8713019.