Based on the John Waters film, Hairspray starts out as a tale about a teenage girl trying to get on her favourite TV show as a dancer. But ultimately ends up being a tale of racial justice, the power of integration and full out joy. It’s a modern classic having premiered on Broadway back in 2002, arrived in cinemas in 2007 and first ended up in the West End shortly after. Now it’s back in the West End to give us all the biggest serotonin boost. After the year we’ve had, oh is it ever so needed.
I should preface by saying that I absolutely adore the score and the film of Hairspray. But this was my first time watching it on stage. My understanding is that this particular production has been done in the UK before. So I do think I maybe would’ve enjoyed it less had it been recycled from something I saw years ago. However, I can’t lie. I properly loved this.
Firstly, the entire cast are giving it everything they have. You can just feel the buzz and excitement from the cast the moment it starts. Lizzie Bea is a wonderful Tracy Turnblad and leads the cast with such charge. Definitely a star in the making. Playing her parents are Michael Ball and Les Dennis. Both have wonderful chemistry with each other and it’s crystal clear that they’re having an absolute blast in this.
I also loved that there a few of the younger members of the cast making their west end debuts in this production. Including Georgia Anderson who was a brilliant Amber Von Tussle in addition to Jonny Amies as Link Larkin. He carries the charisma of a 60’s teen idol but I also liked that Link starts off being a bit more immature and naive, the growth in character development is really strong here. My favourites though were the fabulous Mari McGinlay and Ashley Samuels as Penny and Seaweed. I just absolutely adore their scenes together and thought they were just pure magic. In addition, queen of everything Marisha Wallace as Motormouth Maybelle was phenomenal. Her performance of I Know Where I’ve Been gave me goosebumps and I shouldn’t be having goosebumps at all in July. She’s truly sensational.
When I started writing the review unfortunately the production had to cancel performances due to self isolation rules. But thankfully at time of posting, the production will be back up and running. Hopefully it can continue without any further pauses. Because we only have until September 29th to catch Hairspray. Definitely my favourite show I’ve seen this year. Thanks so much to London Box Office for the ticket. You can get your tickets to Hairspray here. https://www.londonboxoffice.co.uk/hairspray-tickets
Until next time,
Categories: On Stage