REVIEW: Hairspray, London Coliseum

Vibrant, filled with positivity and hope – this production of Hairspray is exactly the tonic that we all need right now.

©Tristram Kenton

This is exactly the show that we all need right now. Filled with great songs, fabulous choreography and joyful cast – this production of Hairspray will ensure that you leave the theatre feeling uplifted and joyful and is certainly more than capable of filling the huge space that is the London Coliseum.

Set in the 1960’s, Tracy Turnblad is a teenager who has high dreams to make it onto the Corny Collins Show but has to fight against prejudice against her and her new friends along the way. This is certainly a story that continues to resonate as we continue to fight for change and take steps towards equality for all – but just as importantly it is a story that teaches us all to hope for the future.

This bold and colourful production, directed with great energy and style by Jack O’Brien, is filled with so many brilliant moments that show off just how fun and warm hearted the show is as a whole. In particular, I loved the interaction between Edna (Michael Ball) and Wilbur ( Les Dennis) during ‘You’re Timeless to Me’, while Marisha Wallace’s rendition of ‘I Know Where I Have Been ‘ quite rightly got a standing ovation and sent shivers down my spine.

©Tristram Kenton

The 1960’s vibe of the show is playfully conveyed through David Rockwell’s playful set design and William Ivey Long’s vibrant and fun costume designs that really capture the spirit of the story and songs. This is really highlighted during ‘Welcome to the 60’s’, helped by Jerry Mitchell’s sleek and entertaining choreography that allows the cast to really showcase how much fun they are having.

It is such a perky show that it would take a heart of stone not to leave the theatre with a spring in your step – particularly given the performances from all of the cast. Lizzie Bea as Tracy is endearing and confident from start to finish, while making the most of the comical elements of the script. Michael Ball as Edna and Les Dennis as Wibur make an adorable on stage couple with plenty of cheeky moments that show their great rapport together.

This is really a cast that is brimmed with talent. Marisha Wallace is an incredible Motormouth Maybelle who lights up the stage with her personality and no-nonsense attitude that makes her incredible to watch. Rita Simons wonderfully delivers the role of Velma making her poisonous comments understated in a way that gives extra meaning, while Georgia Anderson as the spoilt Amber is wonderfully comical. Everyone’s performance just gives you an extra reason to smile.

The ultimate cure for the blues, Hairspray is wonderfully vibrant and entertaining production that ensures that you leave the theatre with a smile on your face and dancing all the way home.

By Emma Clarendon

Hairspray will play at the London Coliseum from the 22nd June until the 29th September. To book tickets click here.  

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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