This is the first performance in a very long time I have eagerly awaited for, sitting there for the show to start straight away as Hairspray in my eyes still holds a firm place in one of musicals greatest creations. Growing from the cult classic John water’s film in 1988 to an multi award winning theatre production shows how much of an impact Hairspray has had on us for the past 14 years since it first appeared on the Broadway scene. This was the opening night of shows at the Regent Theatre that stretches up until the 14th May, so I wasn’t expecting a perfect run for the first night.
For those of you who are somehow oblivious to Hairspray, it’s about a girl called Tracy Turnblad and her friend Penny who want to audition for a dance show, however they encounter numerous problems involving body weight and racial backgrounds in the early 60s media industry, and try to find a way to erase these irrational judgements. The education is easy enough for younger members of the audience to understand, the story and show tunes all flow together like pouring a pint of John Smith’s.
The first mistake I made of course was let any doubt go into my mind. The stage production, as you’d expect, was incredibly vibrant and also fluent with the scene changes, the costumes were perfectly in place with the early 60s theme too. Freya Sutton was absolutely sensational as Tracy Turnblad, a role which despite being used to I can’t imagine anyone else pulling it off as superbly and to perfection as she did.
Despite Claire Sweeney (Velma Von Tussle) and Matt Rixon being incredible, I thought the duo power of Sutton and Monique Young (Penny) was electric enough for me to say they were the stand out actors. Brenda Edwards (Motormouth Maybelle) looked and sounded perfect as she was…dynamite (haaaa!) in her role!
The cast’s acting talents overall gave an incredibley powerful atmosphere that captivated the audience, especially during You Can’t Stop The Beat as everyone united to make the room lighten up with soaring energy.
Despite there being a couple of errors with a stage prop right before (You’re) Timeless To Me, it was saved victriously by Peter Duncan’s (wilbur Turnblad) spontaneous comedy which was also played off nicely by Matt Rixon (Edna Turnblad). Everyone remained in character and there were plenty of smiles around, as if the ice cream van appeared during this hot weather! The band were not a beat or note out of time and made this performance incredibly engrossing along with the singing talents of the Hairspray cast. The dance routines were quirky and excitable, pretty much what you would expect from Hairspray.
I strongly recommend you see Hairspray, it’s feel good aura is beautifully directed and performed and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a strong opening day performance like this one in a very long time.
I suggest you see this musical if you are going through a bad day, it’s not only entertaining, but therapeutic to end your day with a smile on your face.
There are 2 weeks left to watch this stunning production! Hairspray plays the Regent Theatre until 14th May, before moving to it’s final week at Cliffs Pavilion, Southend!
To book tickets see: www.atgtickets.com/stoke