Hairspray – UK Tour

★★★★☆

Hairspray returns to UK Tour for 2021, with some new and some familiar faces!

If you don’t know Hairspray, you really should. Tracy Turnblad (magnificent professional debut from Katie Brace) finds herself on her favourite TV show, but it’s not long before she notices that black people can’t dance with the white people. She’s the most unlikely hero, but with a little help manages to take one big step to defeat segregation on live TV.

Hairspray is firmly established as one of the great dance musicals. It’s stunning soundtrack,  entertaining script and the overall story of Tracy’s selfless fight for equality leaves you feeling warm inside.

A potentially heavy story is as bouncy as the hairstyles. Sprinkled with comedy throughout. There’s even a little pantomime in the form of Tracy’s parents – on this occasion Paul Hutton stepped up due to illness as Edna Turnblad unbelievably well – supported by Norman Pace who returns to the role as Wilbur. Hutton provided devilish fun as a masculine Mum and Pace gives a warm and generally lovable performance as Dad. Their scene in Act Two is a highlight of the show.

There are some serious stars in this show though – these are some of the names you’re going to be hearing alot more of.

Akeem Ellis-Hyman plays Seaweed very well. Cool, confident and bursting with talent – he’s a versatile actor/dancer who threatens to steal the show – along side Rebecca Jane-Davies, who charms as Penny, the best friend who is bursting at the seems to be herself against her mother’s wishes!

Brenda Edwards is an audience favourite, returning to the role of Motormouth with her sensational vocals and it must be said that the mother/daugher duo of Rebecca Thornhill and Jessica Croll (the mean girl combo of Velma and Amber Von Tussle) are outstanding, with show stealing performances of their own!

In a huge cast of such quality, you really can get lost in a show like Hairspray. There’s not many shows that can guarantee audience enjoyment like this one can.

This is a good production, with a live band and a set that works well. Big outfits and big hair are of course what steal the show. If you’re looking for a feel-good musical, this is it!

Hairspray plays the Liverpool Empire, until Saturday 4th September – too book tickets visit: Liverpool Empire Box Office

About Author /

Rob Stanway is the Editor of At The Theatre. He has reviewed the UK's best touring and west end theatre for over 10 years.

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