REVIEW: Hairspray, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, until Saturday, November 21.

There’s something absolutely irresistible about Hairspray, the musical that has got it all.

Friday, 4th December 2015, 3:39 pm

There’s something absolutely irresistible about Hairspray, the musical that has got it all.

Brilliant songs from the rousing to the heartfelt and back again, fantastic performances and a hugely-important message are the winning ingredients in a show which genuinely warrants the over-worked feel-good tag.

The tale is that of sweet but spirited Tracy Turnblad (Freya Sutton) who just wants to dance... the simplest of ambitions which unites everyone around her against the background of early-1960s US segregation. Shining by example, she sings out loud that it’s fine to be exactly who you are: just have the confidence to be what you want to be.

Sutton gives a lovely performance, as does ex-Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan as her joke-shop-owning, good-hearted old pa. Brenda Edwards turns on the power as Motormouth Maybelle.

It’s difficult to say Tony Maudsley is quite so successful as Tracy’s overweight mum Edna, so famously played by John Travolta in the film and on stage by Michael Ball. Maudsley gives the role huge heart just as he should, but while he might look disconcertingly like Hattie Jaques from a distance, maybe he’s just a little too gruff in the part. The very best Ednas aren’t quite so obviously a chap.

But that’s a minor quibble in a show which is delivered with massively-infectious energy and sends you home on the most enormous high.

Phil Hewitt

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