Social Media

Hairspray - Royal and Derngate (UK Tour)

The smash-hit musical Hairspray has burst to life in Northampton at Royal and Derngate as part of its latest UK and Ireland tour. 

The musical set in Baltimore in 1962 delivers a punchy piece about race and equality that feels more relevant than ever as we follow Tracy Turnblad and her wish for getting her favourite TV show fully integrated. 

The Hairspray company. Photo by Mark Senior

The energy bursts from the cast and through to the audience on a 
cold January opening night. Drew McOnie's lively, vibrant choreography is delivered with excellence by a tremendous company. Visually the tour does lack a bit of the spectacle compared to previous stagings of the show, especially in the set design but if the set is a little lacking in places the cast and Philip Gladwell's colourful lighting more than makes up for it. 

Leading the production and the literal 'New Girl In Town' is Katie Brace who makes her professional debut as Tracy Turnblad. She is perfectly cast and brings all the right emotions and heart to the character. She has boundless energy and gorgeous vocals and mirroring Tracy's journey I expect big things will follow for Brace.

Matching Brace is another star turn from Rebecca Jayne-Davies who plays Tracy's best friend, Penny Pingleton. She manages to effectively portray Penny being both under the thumb of her mother whilst bringing out her own teenage desires that are waiting to be discovered. 

Tracy's larger-than-life parents are brought to life by Alex Bourne as Edna and Norman Pace as Wilbur Turnblad. Bourne does a fine job and has a likeable stage presence to her Edna whilst Pace rings the right cartoonish goofiness to his Wilbur. Together the pair deliver 'You're Timeless To Me' with humour that will have you in stitches of laughter.

The Hairspray Company. Photo by Mark Senior.

The stand-out musical moment in the production comes from Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle, her rendition of 'I Know Where I've Been' is unforgettable and will stay with you long after the curtain comes down. She has a powerful stage presence that drives the production forwards.

Joshua Pearson understudies Link Larkin with skill as the character battles for his own big break with everything else going on around him. Rebecca Thornhill thrives as the nasty TV producer Velma Von Tussle as does Jessica Croll as her daughter Amber. Both have the right amount of nastiness without being too far over the top. Reece Richards brings terrific dance to his Seaweed and matches well with those around him. Richard Meek dazzles as TV host Corny Collins.

Special mention must go to all the ensemble members who all move with the highest ability and enhance the piece brilliantly especially in the larger numbers.

Hairspray feels as timely as ever with its themes of racism and body positivity. Director Paul Kerryson's slick lively production ultimately will uplift and delight especially as the production heads towards its joyous final of 'You Can't Stop The Beat' which has the audience up on their feet for the curtain call reprise.

I defy you to not leave feeling uplifted as you exit the theatre. We all need a little bit of joy right now and Hairspray certainly offers this. Big, bold and beautiful.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Hairspray continues at Royal and Derngate until Saturday 5th February with tickets available from The tour continues thereafter

Katie Brace as Tracy Turnblad. Photo by Mark Senior.

Post a Comment


Theme by STS