Liverpool Empire, Lime Street
17th August - 4th September 2010

Reviewed by Minna Alanko

There is something special about a full house, and Liverpool Empire was pretty much that for a Wednesday evening’s showing of Hairspray the musical, touring from the West End. The audience ages ranged from seven to seventy, or thereabouts, which was kind of special also.

The musical is based on the 1988 John Walters cult film, telling the story of Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and even bigger dreams, who strives to fulfil her dream of being accepted into a TV show dance troupe. Despite not fitting the body-beautiful stereotype, she ends up becoming an unlikely success and uniting the racially segregated communities of 1960s Baltimore.

The show’s energetic cast belt out the tunes with not a lip sync in sight, the dance routines are great and the bright 1960s bubblegum staging keeps one’s attention fixed. Local boys Les Dennis and Sinbad …sorry, Michael Starke, charm with their portrayal of Wilbur and Edna Turnblad. The latter, especially, delivers his rotund character with unexaggerated femininity.

Hairspray has a simple message of equality portrayed by a cast that represents different aspects of humanity. It delivers its message effectively through the contagiously joyful energy of the songs and the dancing. In short, this is classical and timeless entertainment that received – quite deservedly – a standing ovation from the audience. One left the theatre feeling happy. The city was bathing in a soft dusk of an Indian summer’s evening, and for that moment everything was perfect.

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Sorry Comments Closed

Comment left by minna Alanko on 11th September, 2010 at 15:59
It should say seven to seventy on the second line! Not my mistake, mind. ;)