When I found out that the Hairspray UK Tour was coming to our local theatre, I didn’t hesitate in booking tickets for the teen, my mum and I. Hairspray has long been the teen’s favourite musical and it made the perfect pre-GCSE treat. Allowing her to have a break from all that revision and enjoy a night out – even if it was only with her mum and her nan.
I think we must have watched this trailer about a hundred times in the weeks between me booking the tickets and actually going last Friday. And we weren’t disappointed. It was every bit as good as we expected, if not more so.
There was singing from the outset as Rebecca Mendoza aka Tracy Turnblad, belted out ‘Good Morning Baltimore’ and set the scene for what was to be a high energy spectacle throughout.
If you aren’t familiar with the story this bit’s for you:
Welcome to the 60’s where Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams. You Can’t Stop The Beat as she sets out to dance her way onto national TV with The Nicest Kids In Town. Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heart-throb Link Larkin along the way!
You see it’s not all high kicks and teenage angst, there’s an underlying message about prejudice which runs throughout the show. Tracy and her mother are for want of a better word, fat. Plagued by feeling ‘not good enough’. Unwanted and not accepted for who they are. Tracy, and indeed her mother, overcome their demons and embrace who they are before going against the system in an attempt to end segregation, which was rife in the 60s. When black and white teens couldn’t even dance together or share the same slot on tv, let alone date. Among all the fun and frolics, there really are some incredibly emotive scenes.
A moment that stole the show for me entirely was when the amazing Brenda Edwards, of X Factor and Chicago fame, belted out ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’. I instantly got goosebumps. Her voice is absolutely breathtaking. And it just got more and more powerful with each and every song.
The entire cast is wonderful in fact. All of whom are so well suited to their parts. I really can’t express how much we loved this show. But if you’re looking for something that will have you dancing in the aisles, Hairspray is most definitely for you. Be quick though as it appears this stint of the UK Tour wraps up in early August. Take a look at the tour dates to see when it’s coming to a theatre near you.
*This is not a paid/gifted review. Tickets were purchased by myself.