Last night I spend a glorious couple of hours immersed in all things 60s as I was transported back to Baltimore in 1962 with Hairspray The Musical.
I actually cannot believe I have never seen the film, or show. As such was watching through fresh eyes, and had no idea what to expect other than a brightly coloured musical extravaganza.
Tracy Turnblad(Rebecca Mendoza) is a big girl with big hair and a big heart.
It is her dream to dance on a national TV show. Despite her mothers own self-esteem issues which results in her mother Edna (Matt Rixon) discouraging her to attend the audition, Tracy’s self-belief, drive and best friend Penny Pingleton (Annalise Liard-Baily) inspires her to fight for her dreams.
Despite a cool response from the shows producer Velma Von Tussle (Gina Murray) whose vision in life is to project her daughter Amber’s (Aimee Moore) career and promote a segregated life in a perfect size 8.
Tracy is met with a cynical reception, which focuses on her weight. And demeans her ability to take part in a national dance show and attract her dream boy Link Larkin (Edward Chitticks). Much to the horror of most of the dance crew, Tracy goes on to woo show host Corny Collins (Jon Tsouras) and win a part on the show.
Colins sees that times are changing and teens need inspiration not perfection. They need to learn to accept themselves and each other to make a better world.
And that is where the story of Hairspray the Musical really begins.
With Tracey’s quest to encourage the integration of her peers so her black friend Seaweed (Layton Williams) can dance on stage alongside her. This causes a catalyst that follows a search for whole new level of acceptance. Of accepting race, love, colour, size and each other! Supported and rallied by Seaweed’s the incredible mother Motormouth Maybelle (Brenda Edwards)
Hairspray really makes you think about stereotyping and judgment, why do you have to be a size 8 to appear on a dance show? Of her mothers journey of finally accepting herself and her Dad Wilbur’s (Graham Macduff) unfailing and undying love for Edna despite her lack of self-belief. Also how different the world was in the 60s, and thankfully how far we have come in so many ways.
Hairspray is the most wonderful story of love and equality that gets into your head and under your skin. You leave wanting to be Tracy’s friend.
Because despite the colourful set and pitch perfect cast that delivers such a wonderful performance that by the end has you jumping out of your seat and dancing along, it also weaves in a valuable life lesson that has you pondering long after the last curtain.
Hairspray the Musical is so much more than a catchy tune and colourful set, the show has a heart and soul that has you leaving the theatre uplifted and smiling from ear to ear. It also delivers the most wonderful lesson of acceptance of oneself and others around you.