Whether you have seen Hairspray once, many times or never try and get a ticket for this touring production currently at Bristol Hippodrome. The feel good story of Tracy Turnblad in 1960s Baltimore achieving her dream to dance on the Corny Collins show and spearheading racial integration to the show – is an evening of wonderful singing, dance indulgence and pure joy!
Making her professional debut in this tour as Tracy, Katie Bruce gave an outstanding performance and certainly made the part her own; superb vocals, great facial expression and physical comedy. She was the centrepiece of an amazing cast; understudy Zoe Heighton (as Penny for this performance) was a standout performance along with Rebecca Thornhill as a hard nosed Velma Von Tussle intent only on pushing her daughter Amber (Jessica Croll) to the fore and keeping the family honour alive by winning The Ultra Clutch Queen Contest. Unwittingly Tracy captures the hearts of the viewers and voters with her innocent enthusiastic dancing and Amber suddenly has competition on her hands!
The whole production was notable for it’s sense of teamwork, great staging and colourful costumes coupled with faultless singing – from swing to main characters. Even Norman Pace (playing Tracy’s hapless father Wilber Turnblad) managed to hold the stage in his duet with larger than life Edna (Tracy’s mother) played in this tour by Alex Bourne. Sadly, as has recently been the case at Bristol Hippodrome there were issues with sound levels which did detract for some of the solos in particular.
Hairspray – like Tracy and her hair - big, bouncy, perfectly groomed and full of sparkle. It will appeal to all, and I challenge you not to find your feet tapping along in your seat and singing at least one of the tunes on the way home!