hairspray cast

Hairspray

Malvern Theatres

*****

THE wannabe stars of TV talent shows could learn a lesson or two from the lovable heroine of Hairspray, Tracy Turnblad.

For when thrust into the limelight in 1960’s America, she uses her fame for good, to fight for civil rights and equality for women, whatever their size or colour.

This fun, big and bold musical has become a cult classic not just because it's a rip-roaring rollercoaster of a show, but because it's also got morals deep at its heart, Tracy's heart.

Set in 1962 Baltimore, the story follows Tracy - "the big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart", who is trying to reach a national TV dance final.

When her appearance makes her a local star, Tracy ends up getting on board bigger struggles than just avoiding detention and being picked on by the mean girls for her size.

There's plenty of romance too amongst the talented energetic cast that includes Freya Sutton in the lead role. A part the theatre actress has developed into her own.

Joining her is a cast of famous TV faces, notably Tony Maudsley (ITV1’s Benidorm) and ex-Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan as her hilarious parents, who deserve the biggest cheer of the night for their duet You're Timeless To Me.

Meanwhile former Brookside actress Claire Sweeney takes a turn on the dark side and seems to revel in playing outrageous bigot Velma Von Tussle. Her voice suits the deep, moody songs like The Legend of Miss Baltimore Crabs stealing the show vocally, however, it is one-time X Factor contestant Brenda Edwards (Chicago, We Will Rock You) who mesmerises with her powerful vocals as Motormouth Maybelle.

It's a comedy for most part, but there are also glimpses of deep emotion, especially during Edwards' rendition of civil rights themed I Know Where I've Been, which ends with images of Martin Luther King on screen.

The movie Hairspray, starring Divine and Ricki Lake, secured this musical's popularity back in the 1980s with a scintillating score of songs.

When it opened in Broadway in 2002, it won eight Tony Awards, and picked up a further four Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical, when it reached London's West End in 2007.

This slick, hugely entertaining show is now on a 40-week UK tour and is a riot of colour and song. Make sure you catch it when you can. To 10-10-15

Alison Brinkworth

05-10-15

Hairspray returns to the Midlands on December 14 at The New Alexandra Theatre, running for three weeks until January 2. 

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