Hairspray - Southampton - Mayflower Theatre

~ by Rachel Jones for The Portsmouth News - 13/05/2010 ~

Big characters, big hair and big tunes have succeeded in drawing near-capacity audiences. The multi award-winning Hairspray has caused quite a stir in Southampton where it's almost a sell-out for the entire two-and-a-half week run.

As one of the West End's most successful musicals, embarking on its first UK tour and featuring star names, Hairspray's popularity doesn't come as too much of a surprise.

And it's unlikely to disappoint the masses who have booked seats for theatre's larger-than-life look at the TV dance shows of the early 1960s.

Michael Ball surprised all in the West End by donning the show's most flamboyantly feminine outfits and he shows south coast audiences just why he won an Olivier in the role of Edna Turnblad.

The rest of the cast, including Les Dennis, add plenty of outrageous humour and enough professional sheen to rival the barnet of a salon model.

Sandra Marvin as lady with attitude Motormouth Maybelle deserves a special mention for a quite possibly glass-shattering vocal performance.

The show follows the fortunes of Baltimore's big girl with a big heart Tracy Turnblad, excellently and energetically played by Laurie Scarth, who longs for a spot on a local TV dance show.

The plot covers the racial segregation of the era, the sizeism of any era and heralds the start of a new age.

And it somehow manages to do this with the widest of smiles and the happiest tunes you're likely to hear on any stage.

Not for nothing has this been called the ultimate feelgood show.

With not a hair out of place, it's full of life, laughter and the sort of lustre you'd expect from a show named after one of history's most successful beauty products.

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