9-14 May 2016
Reviewed by Catherine Brown
The hilarious and heart-warming musical ‘Hairspray’ is currently at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent as part of a national tour. The energetic show with hard-hitting messages about racism and tolerance is a must-see for any fans of musical comedies. The Regent Theatre is in the Hanley area of the city and as always the staff were warm and welcoming. The piano bar is a perfect place to have a pre-show glass of wine with a musical accompaniment, while the main foyer stocks a variety of drinks and snacks.
Based on the 1988 film ‘Hairspray’ tells the story of Tracy Turnblad from Baltimore – a larger than life teen who loves her music and dance. She manages to successfully audition for a part on the Corny Collins television show, much to the consternation of producer and pushy parent Velma Von Tussle (played by Claire Sweeney). Tracy’s friendship with black dancers and her attempts to advocate integration threaten to isolate her from the rest of the team and upset the hairspray sponsors of the television programme.
Throughout the night the talented cast demonstrated excellent musical and dance ability. My favourite characters were Tracy’s parents Edna and Wilbur, played by Matt Rixon (son of Matthew Kelly) and Peter Duncan. Their duet ‘You’re timeless to me’ was both comical and endearing. Some of the funniest lines come from Tracy’s best friend Penny (Monique Young) who transforms from caterpillar to butterfly during the performance. Her new love Seaweed (Dex Lee) has fantastic lines, particularly when he comes to rescue Penny from the bed her Mum has tied her to.
The show combines energy and exuberance while also demonstrating how different life was in the 1960’s. The up-beat tunes include ‘You can’t stop the beat’ which had the audience up on their feet dancing along. I would certainly give this show a 5 out of 5 rating.
Tickets cost from £21.40 to £51.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Hairspray is at the Regent Theatre in Stoke until 14 May 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 7649
Regent Theatre, Piccadilly, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1 1AP | 0844 871 7649