Sometime you just need a bit of escapism? Being immersed in all things 60s and being transported back to Baltimore in 1962 with Hairspray The Musical Uk Tour is just the perfect way to indulge.
If you haven’t seen the movie or show then it’s a must. However as I had never seen either, I was watching this spectacular production through fresh eyes. As such I had no idea what to expect other than a brightly coloured musical extravaganza. But Hairspray The Musical is so much more than that!
Hairspray The Musical UK Tour Review, Manchester 2021, The Palace Theatre Manchester
Tracy Turnblad (Katie Brace) Is a big girl with big hair and a big heart. It’s her dream to dance on a national TV show. Despite her mothers own self-esteem issues which results in her mother Edna (Alex Bourne) discouraging her to attend the audition. Tracy’s self-belief, drive and best friend Penny Pingleton (Rebecca Jayne-Davies) inspires her to fight for her dreams.
Despite a cool response from the shows producer Velma Von Tussle (Rebecca Thornhill) whose vision in life is to project her daughter Amber’s (Jessica Croll) career and promote a segregated life in a perfect size 8.
Tracy is met with a cynical reception, which focuses on her weight. And also demeans her ability to take part in a national dance show and attract her dream boy Link Larkin (Ross Clifton). Much to the horror of most of the dance crew, Tracy goes on to woo show host Corny Collins (Richard Meek) and win a part on the show.
Colins sees that times are changing and teens need inspiration and diversity. They need to learn to accept themselves and each other to make the world better place.
And That Is Where The Story Begins.
With Tracey’s quest to encourage the integration of her peers so her black friend Seaweed (Akeem Ellis-Hyman) can dance on stage alongside her. This causes a wonderful 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 incredible mother Motormouth Maybelle (the incredible Brenda Edwards)
Hairspray really makes you think about stereotyping and judgment, why do you have to be a size 8 or white to appear on a dance show? Of her mothers journey of finally accepting herself and her Dad Wilbur’s (Norman Pace) 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 The Musical Is An Inspirational Story
One of love and equality that gets into your head and under your skin. You leave wanting to be Tracy’s friend, who wouldn’t want a friend like that in their corner? A special mention to Tracy Turnblad (Katie Brace) on her professional debut, who was simply incredible in every way.
It’s so difficult to single people out when every cast member is glorious! However Brenda Edwards was also a stand out favourite with her power house voice that had the ability to captivate the whole audience, and also project emotion to create an electric atmosphere.
Additionally, despite the colourful set and pitch perfect cast that delivered such a wonderful performance. Which has you jumping out of your seat and dancing along. Hairspray the Musical also weaves in a valuable life lesson that has you pondering long after the last curtain.
Hairspray is so much more than a catchy tune and colourful set. The show is fast moving, exciting and has a heart and soul that has you leaving the theatre uplifted and smiling from ear to ear. “You Can’t Stop The Beat” caused the audience to erupt, it felt like the best party ever.
It also delivers the most wonderful lesson of acceptance of oneself and others around you. Bravo to the cast, anyone who has the ability to create that much electricity, laughter and joy in a theatre is truly magical.
Hairspray The Musical Is At The Palace Theatre, Manchester Until The 13th November
Tickets start at £13.00 and Hairspray is on a National UK tour until well into 2022. If you like feeling pure joy? Then this is not one to miss.
I was gifted the tickets in the return for a review. Also thank you so much to Louise for attending in my place, your review is amazing, I love to see others feel the same passion for the theatre as I do. See here for more theatre reviews.