Tuesday, October 19


- September 21, 2021

Stemming from John Waters’ original cult movie, Hairspray has gone on to become a crowd pleasing family musical, the edgy sharp corners being rounded off along the way but the important social message remaining as strong as ever – as it should be. It’s packed with great numbers that demand huge amounts of energy from the cast and on this occasion that energy was certainly there, this vibrant company for the most part gave their all with some truly excellent performances from Katie Brace as Tracy and Brenda Edwards as Mabel and in the second part from Alex Bourne as Edna and Norman Pace as Wilbur. Rebecca Thornhill’s role was packed with venom and energy as Velma and Rebecca Jayne-Davies was a superbly gawky Penny Pingleton.

So sad then thet they and the whole energetic ensemble were so desperately let down by a thoroughly dismal and two dimensional set, badly realised CGI projections simply do not cut it, and costumes that for a great part were badly cut and ill fitting.

Hairspray needs a large cast to work and this we were given but producers please, find a design team that can deliver, even on a tight budget, a production that lives up to two things, the quality of the writing and the quality of the cast. On this occasion both were let down. If I was awarding stars for the company it would certainly merit four if not five, but as a whole… well you will see.

Andrew Kay

Theatre Royal Brightom 20 September

Rating: ★★½☆☆

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