Hairspray: Review

~ Charlotte Richardson, Weston, Worle & Somerset Mercury - 13/04/11 ~

ABSOLUTELY fabulous from start to finish – grab your girlfriends and for goodness sakes catch this show before it leaves Bristol.

Based upon the New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters, Hairspray has big hair, big characters and big voices.

As expected Michael Ball, on of theatre's most famous names, shines as the endearing and very funny Edna Turnblad, while Laurie Scarth carries off the role of daughter Tracy with style and professionalism.

Baltimore's Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, has only one passion - to dance.

She wins a spot on the local TV dance programme, The Corny Collins Show' and, overnight, is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity.

But can a trendsetter in dance and fashion vanquish the programme's reigning princess, win the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin, and integrate a television show without denting her ‘do'? Only in Hairspray! Welcome to the 1960s!

For me the big, beautiful, voice of the night belonged to the powerful lungs of Sandra Marvin, who played Motormouth Maybelle.

And the pairing of the evening belonged to Michael Ball and Micky Dolenz, who played Wilbur Turnblad.

Perhaps the simplest scene of the lot in the second half, but definitely the most memorable, was when the pair sang their duet Timeless To Me – it was a classic and I felt tears of laughter rolling down my face.

With just a little bit of ad-libbing thrown in and some carefully-staged choreographing and eye-catching costumes, the night flew past in a whirlwind of fantastic entertainment.

The musical features an original score by Marc Shaiman (who co-wrote the music and lyrics for the acclaimed animated musical, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut) and Scott Whittman.

The show is being staged at The Bristol Hippodrome until April 30.

To book tickets to the show log on to

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