Set in Baltimore in the 1960, Hairspray tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, an ambitious teenager with a huge passion for dancing. Determined to succeed despite being on the receiving end of social prejudice over her weight, Tracy sets off to get a job dancing on a popular television show and win the boy of her dreams.
From the moment she enthusiastically bounded onto the Edinburgh Playhouse stage, it was clear that musical theatre newcomer Freya Sutton was born to play the role of Tracy Turnblad. With a gleaming smile and a powerful voice as big as her hair, she made the audience instantly fall in love with her. The only one who came close to stealing her limelight was former Waterloo Road actor Mark Benton, who made his Strictly Come Dancing debut on Saturday. Tottering about the stage in heels and with a face full of make-up, Benton provided many universal laughs throughout the evening as Tracy’s larger-than-life Mother, Edna. With Paul Rider, Benton had the audience in stitches when the pair erupted into genuine laugher during their ‘romantic’ duet, Timeless to Me.
Musicals may not come more sugary-sweet or uplifting than Hairspray but underneath all the extravagant wigs, infectious songs and skilful dancing is a serious undertone about racial tolerance and self-acceptance. The show manages to perfectly address issues prevalent in 1960’s America whilst still leaving audience members smiling and tapping their toes throughout.
Unless your idea of fun is watching back-to-back reruns of the Antiques Roadshow then you’ll love it!
A perfect remedy for the inevitable summer-blues.