Hairspray UK Tour - Review Southampton Mayflower

 When I was a child, Tracy Turnblad was one of those characters that I felt somewhat connected to. It might have been the love of singing and dancing, or the fact we were both slightly larger than life trying to make it in a small world. Because of this, Hairspray has always held some place in my heart and when I knew it was heading on tour, it was a show that I knew I had to see. 

As an aside, being one of the first shows to return to Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, it also felt special as it was the first time in 18 months that both me and Max has stepped foot in a theatre. To say that there were tears in our eyes would be completely true. We were just honoured and thankful to be back in a theatre after such a long time away. It honestly felt like we were home. 

Back to the show at hand though. Hairspray the Musical tells the tale of Tracy Turnblad, a larger than life girl who just wants to sing, dance and be on the local TV variety show. She wants racial equality, and isn't afraid to do whatever it takes and face whatever opposition necessary to make sure that it happens in her little town of Baltimore. With big songs, bigger dances and even bigger hair, you can't help but tap your feet as you welcome yourself into the 60's. 

I can honestly say that I was more than impressed with this production. I truly didn't know what to expect after so long out of a theatre. Whilst some of the storyline can appear quite thin and spread out at times due to the fact they cover so many topics in a short time, Hairspray had both myself and Max toe tapping, dancing in our seats and giving a standing ovation before the show had even ended (hats of to Brenda Edwards for an absolutely breathtaking performance as Motormouth Maybelle, her rendition of "I Know Where I've Been" is worth the ticket price alone!). 

Some of the stand out performances alongside Brenda Edwards' had to be Katie Brace and Rebecca Jayne-Davies as Tracy Turnblad and Penny Pingleton. Both of them embodied these iconic roles and added everything from physical humour, to moving sentiments. They were full of bubblegum pop energy that radiated through the audience to give everyone the shock of positivity we all need in these times. 

I absolutely adored Alex Bourne and Norman Pace as Edna and Wilbur Turnblad. Their on stage chemistry was perfectly balanced for this show and, despite the giggles, remained fully in character and engaging throughout. Their performance of "(You're) Timeless To Me" was funny, sincere, heartwarming and everything else in between all packaged up with a whiff of hairspray. 

I can't be wrong in saying that Hairspray is the perfect show to welcome folks back to the theatre. With it's bright colours and bright songs, you can easily be whisked away and forget about all that has happened over the past 18 months. From the staging that was both cartoon like, yet understated at the same time, to the songs that most audiences know and love. You could easily see why this show got a standing ovation before the final song had even begun. It's a show that is perfect for the whole family and will have everyone singing the whole way home because "You Can't Stop The Beat!"

Hairspray is a musical that is suitable for the whole family, whilst the recommended age is 12+, I think that most children age 8+ would enjoy the show, and I saw many a young face in the audience. Be aware that the show does cover some sensitive topics such as race, discrimination and prejudice, but also does cover acceptance and equality too. 

Max's review:

From bold colours, to brilliant songs, I loved Hairspray the musical. It made me grin from ear to ear, laugh until I hurt my sides and dance in my seat so I looked like I had ants in my pants. My favourite characters were Link, Tracy and Edna as they were all brilliant performers and were also quite funny too. I would give this show a solid 4.5 stars out of 5. It would have got 5, but I didn't want the show to end as it was so good I lost my voice cheering!

Hairspray the Musical is on at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton until the 31st July and then continuing on a UK tour throughout 2021 and 2022. Don't miss your chance to welcome in the 60's!

*Please note, this was a review opportunity. Whilst the tickets were gifted, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  

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