Mar 13 2018 | By More

★★★★☆   Colourful

Playhouse: Mon 12 – Sat 17 Mar 2018
Review by Sarah Moyes

It’s time to grab a giant can of Hairspray and get your big hair ready to be transported back to the swinging 60s as the smash hit musical returns to the Playhouse in Edinburgh this week.

Set in Baltimore in 1962, Hairspray tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a loveable high school student who is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto a national television show on The Corny Collins Show. And once she does become a local star, she’s an unstoppable force as she fights against inequality and for racial integration so every day can be Negro Day.

Rebecca Mendoza and Matt Rixon with the Hairspray ensemble. Pic Darren Bell

Having just graduated last year, Rebecca Mendoza makes her professional debut as Tracy in a role that almost seems like it was written for her. It’s an iconic part and Rebecca certainly grabs this opportunity with both hands, commanding the stage from the very start of the show as she belts Good Morning Baltimore. From there, she’s fun and feisty throughout, showing girls everywhere that they should be standing up for what they believe in.

The role of Tracy’s mum Edna Turnblad is always played by a man, and in this current production it’s Matt Rixon who steps into Edna’s big dress and heels, while Norman Pace plays Wilbur Turnblad. The pair work perfectly together, and their opening duet You’re Timeless To Me brings the loudest cheers of the night. It’s a beautifully endearing moment, even though they are unable to keep a serious face, bursting into laughter on several occasions throughout the song.

Former X Factor star Brenda Edwards plays Motormouth Maybelle bringing the house down with her powerhouse of a voice on I Know Where I’ve Been, while Gina Murray and Aimee Moore give strong performances as the obnoxious mother and daughter Velma and Amber Von Tussle, fighting for Amber to be the star of the show.

brightly coloured

The staging for this touring production is very simple, but Drew McOnie’s fun choreography, coupled with brightly coloured costumes, makes the musical just leap off the stage. The whole ensemble can really dance, but all eyes are on Layton Williams in the role of Seaweed, every time he’s on stage. His onstage girlfriend and Tracy’s best friend Penny Pingleton is played by Annalise Liard-Bailey, another cast member who has just recently graduated, but judging by tonight’s performance this won’t be the last we see of her.

Brenda Edwards and Rebecca Mendoza with the Hairspray ensemble. Pic Darren Bell

The show is packed with much loved musical theatre songs from Welcome To The 60s to Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now but the best is definitely saved until last as the cast put on their sequins and gets the whole audience dancing in their seats for You Can’t Stop The Beat. Just when you think it can’t get any more glitzy, Edna Turnblad jumps out of a giant can of hairspray and the audience is treated to another few choruses of the infectiously catchy song.

Hairspray has been touring for years – it was last here in 2016 –  and the reason why people are still flocking to see it is there for all to see. It’s a heart-warming and empowering tale that just makes you want to get up and dance.

Running time: Two hours and 30 minutes (including one interval)
Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014
Monday 12 – Saturday 17 March 2018.
Evenings: 7.30pm; Matinees Wed, Sat: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details.

Facebook: @HairsprayUKTour
Twitter: @HairsprayUKTour

Hairspray on tour 2018:
12 – 17 Mar 2018 Edinburgh
0844 871 7627 Book online
19 – 24 Mar 2018 Aberdeen
His Majesty’s Theatre
01224 641122 Book online
26 Mar – 7 Apr 2018 Manchester
Opera House
0844 871 3019 Book online
9 – 14 Apr 2018 Milton Keynes
0844 871 7652 Book online
16 – 21 Apr 2018 Liverpool
0844 871 3017 Book online
23 – 28 Apr 2018 Hull
New Theatre
01482 300 306 Book online
30 Apr – 5 May 2018 Llandudno
Venue Cymru
01492 872000 Book online
8 – 12 May 2018 Canterbury
Marlowe Theatre
01227 787787 Book online
14 – 19 May 2018 Southend
Cliffs Pavilion
01702 351135 Book online
21 – 26 May 2018 Wycombe
01494 512 000 Book online
29 May – 3 Jun 2018 Cheltenham
01242 572573 Book online
12 – 16 Jun 2018 Stoke
Regent Theatre
0844 871 7649 Book online
18 – 23 Jun 2018 Oxford
New Theatre
0844 871 3020 Book online
25 – 30 Jun 2018 Newcastle
Theatre Royal
08448 11 21 21 Book online
2 – 7 Jul 2018 Eastbourne
Devonshire Park
01323 412 000 Book online
9 – 14 Jul 2018 Dublin
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
+353 (1) 677 7999 Book online
16 – 21 Jul 2018 York
Grand Opera House
0844 871 3024 Book online
23 – 28 Jul 2018 Swansea
Grand Theatre
017924 75715 Book online
30 Jul – 4 Aug 2018 Bournmouth
01202 055555 Book online

The Hairspray ensemble. Pic Darren Bell


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