Review: Hairspray at the Bristol Hippodrome

~ Jayne Bennett, Gazette - 13/04/11 ~

THE atmosphere was electric at the Bristol Hippodrome last night - and with good reason.

Not only was the West End hit musical Hairspray coming to Bristol as part of its first national tour, it was bringing with it Michael Ball, the leading man of musical theatre in the West End and Broadway as well as Mickey Dolenz, of Monkees fame.

The storyline of Hairspray revolves around racial segregation in the early 1960s, and one girl's fight to get everyone dancing to the same tune, no matter what their colour or size. It is a meaningful story, and the plot is easy to follow with a talented cast who clearly love what they do.

Taking the lead as Tracy Turnblad was Laurie Scarth, who brought the story to life and was barely off-stage throughout the entire performance - filling it with boundless energy and enthusiasm.

Also worthy of mentions were Gillian Kirkpatrick as Velma Von Tussle, Wayne Robinson as Seaweed, and the incredible Sandra Marvin as Motormouth Maybelle. However, the entire cast had an integral part to play in the show and, without exception, they played it well.

For me though it was Wilbur and Edna's duet of the song ‘Timeless to Me' in the second half which absolutely stole the show; the on-stage antics of these two living legends were priceless and worth the ticket money alone A big set, big costumes, big personalities and most of all big hair are all part and parcel of what makes Hairspray such a big hit with the audience. It is almost impossible to resist the urge to get up and dance with the cast as they return to the stage for an encore of their most recognisable tune ‘You Can't Stop the Beat' making the standing ovation not only well deserved, but inevitable.

Hairspray is on at the Bristol Hippodrome until April 30.

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