Review – Hairspray at MK Theatre

If you haven’t already caught this show on tour before, then the wait will have been worthwhile if you go along to MK Theatre this week. The latest staging of the Curve production from 2014 brings back several favourites in their roles, with a plethora of new faces. The talent on offer in the show is nothing less than astounding and must have been an absolute dream for Director Paul Kerryson and choreographer Drew McOnie to work with.

 

Hairspray is an all singing, all dancing spectacle with masses of heart. It is set in 1960’s Baltimore and tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a teenager with high hopes, big ambitions and even bigger hair. It was an absolute smash hit on Broadway and just as much in the West End where it won an Olivier Award. It is the ultimate in feel good. The show follows the ambitious, bubbly and heart-warming Tracy Turnblad in her dream to be crowned Miss Teenage Hairspray. After winning a spot on a local TV dance programme, Tracy becomes an overnight sensation. But can she win over the heartthrob Link Larkin and oust the programme’s reigning teen princess? If you haven’t seen it, then I am not going to spoil it for you!

 

The show features hit songs Good Morning Baltimore, I Can Hear the Bells, It Takes Two, You Can’t Stop the Beat and many more, it’s a soundtrack you will doubtless have heard, even if you haven’t seen the show.

 

Several faces return to the show for this latest tour. Matt Rixon gives hands down – THE BEST performance of the role Edna Turnblad that I have seen, this being the fifth time I have seen the show.   He brings genuine warmth to the role and great humour too. His rendition of ‘Timeless to me’ along with stage hubby Wilbur (Graham Macduff) was both sweet and hilarious. Also returning is Jon Tsouras as TV Host Corny Collins who gives a polished performance, Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle – her vocals will astound you and Layton Williams who moves into the role as Seaweed and is a revelation. Williams has bags of natural talent and was on point in every aspect of his performance, super slick dance moves, great vocals and a great believability. The talent on offer in this show is ridiculously good, but that said Williams still stands out, which shows just how much class he oozes. Of the new faces to the show Rebecca Mendoza is an adorable Tracy, making her professional stage debut and impressing greatly in a role that takes great stamina – she is rarely off the stage. Gina Murray and Aimee Moore were deliciously horrid in the roles of Velma and Amber and Edward Chitticks had both the moves and the important looks in the role as Tracy’s love interest Link. Word to for Director Kerryson who has cast this expertly and Choreographer McOnie whose work is quite simply some of the very best in musical theatre right now, the choreography in this show is on fire!

 

I was so impressed with this production. Often when I revisit shows I can find it hard to eclipse the first viewing, but this was my fifth viewing of the production and was by far the best. The show is touring across the UK, but I for one think it needs to find a home in the West End. It’s themes and morals are a perfect match for what is big on the West End right now and the cast assembled would more than hold there own in the bright lights down in the big smoke.

Don’t miss this show! Hairspray is at MK Theatre until Saturday.

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