Review: Hairspray UK Tour at Manchester’s Opera House

★★★★ Based on the John Waters’ film, Hairspray embarks on a brand new UK and Ireland tour!

Grab your teasing comb and can of hairspray, as this musical blowing the roof off the Opera House. Taking you back to 1962, where hairdos are reaching new levels, as larger than life Tracy Turnblad dreams of dancing her way onto national TV and into the heart of teen heartthrob Link Larkin. After auditioning for the show and becoming a local star, Tracy is using her new-found fame to fight for integration.

With well-loved hits such as ‘Good Morning Baltimore’, ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’ and ‘I Can Hear the Bells‘ Hairspray is a non-stop colour and dancing marathon that you can’t help but smile at.

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Using a smaller cast than previous productions, but this doesn’t stop the actors looking lost on stage – in fact, they fill it up without any trouble at all. Drew McOnie’s joyous choreography is the beating heart of the show, using his classic preppy jazz flare for the white characters while adding in the cool, smooth moves for the black cast.

Making her professional debut and the role her own, Rebecca Mendoza’s highly comical performance as Tracy Turnblad include some caricature-like facial expressions and lots of huffing and puffing anytime the dreamy Link (Edward Chitticks) comes near, and a powerhouse voice that brings the audience to their feet in a standing ovation.

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Matt Rixon is hilarious as her muscular moll of a mum, making the audience laugh out loud at the comic duet with Graham MacDuff (covering the role of Wilbur tonight) in ‘You’re Timeless To Me’.

Stealing the show with her sass and powerful voice, Gina Murray takes Velma Von Tussle to a whole new level of evil – but maybe making her my favourite character in this production. Murray shows off her impressive range in the dynamic ‘Miss Baltimore Crabs’, not being phased when being tipped upside down by the male dancers.

Making a bold entrance was the Dynamites in ‘Welcome to the 60s’ in the glitziest costumes that shone on stage (designed by Takis) – their voices shone just as bright and with a soul that sent chills to the audience.

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The seven-piece band, with musical direction by Richard Atkinson, played live at the back of the stage, all in white tuxedos and quiffs, never let’s the 60’s feel slip.

A totally AFROTASTIC production – it was so cheerful and exceptionally entertaining with an incredible story and message to tell!

★★★★

Hairspray is playing at Manchester’s Opera House until 7th April – book here.

 

 

1 Comment

  1. March 28, 2018 / 3:39 pm

    Just a thank you for such a wonderful review and a glowing mention for me, personally. I can’t tell you what it means for actors to read that our performance has had a positive response.
    Thanks so much

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