Taking Musicals To New Heights, We Review Hairspray At Birmingham Hippodrome.
Based on the film written by John Waters, a new adaptation of international smash hit musical comedy Hairspray, directed by Paul Kerryson is currently playing at Birmingham Hippodrome before heading to Leicester’s Curve Theatre (16th – 21st October) and then embarking on a UK tour.
Set in the 60’s school girl Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams. As those dreams start becoming a reality she is soon using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heartthrob Link Larkin along the way! Our own Lilith Hunt-Sheppard let her hair down and went along to the Press Night.
I was introduced to the 1988 original film from an early age and it was always a firm favourite. Until last night I had not yet seen it live on stage and I was excited to see how it translated on the stage.
From the moment the curtains open to a singing Tracy Turnblad (played by Rebecca Mendoza) she brings a sweet innocence and zest for life that pretty much everyone can relate to. Paired up with best friend Penny, played by Annalise Liard-Bailey all they want is to dance on the Corny Collins show, much to the annoyance of both their mothers.
As Tracey’s dreams start to become a reality more and more obstacles try and block her way. Whether it is the bullying cool girls from the Corny Collins Show or the show’s producer, pushy mother Velma Von Tussle (played by Gina Murray), Tracey has to battle with them all.
Hairspray is fundamentally about expectance and inclusion for all, focussing on the fight racial integration of the 1960’s. Fighting on the other side are Mother and Son duo Motormouth Mabel and Seaweed, (played by Brenda Edwards and Layton Williams). Together the duo almost steal the show with their powerful voices and Layton’s incredible dancing, you can’t help but want to stand with them and fight.
Other favourites include Edna and Wilbur Turblad (played by Matt Rixon and Norman Pace) the larger than life parents of Tracy that always encourage her to follow her dreams. These two make a great pairing with their cheeky humour and a humility that makes you want to be a part of the family.
Visually the show is great and musically Hairspray doesn’t miss a beat. With strong numbers throughout the show, showcasing each of the casts musical talents. Particular favourites are, Welcome To The 60’s, Big Blonde and Beautiful, The Big Dolls House and You Can’t Stop The Beat.
It has been a while since I have seen a Paul Kerryson production and Hairspray is him at his best!
A definite must-see feel-good show.
Hairspray runs till Saturday 14th October Birmingham Hippodrome, to book your tickets cick HERE