Review: Baltimore comes to Bristol in Hairspray

The cast of Hairspray - photo courtesy of Ellie Kurttz

The cast of Hairspray - photo courtesy of Ellie Kurttz - Credit: Archant

A slice of 1960s Baltimore came to Bristol last night (Monday) as the Hippodrome hosted hit musical Hippodrome.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YnQJzVBASk

The play tells the tale of teen Tracy Turnblad, played by the endlessly energetic Freya Sutton.

Tracy has a big heart and wants everyone to get along, regardless of race or background – but in 1960s America this is easier said than done.

She also loves to dance and fulfils a lifelong dream by auditioning for her favourite TV programme, The Corny Collins Show.

Even though all she is different to the other dancers on the show, not least because of her size, she wins the host over with her upbeat attitude and soon becomes a local celebrity.

Even though she achieves her lifelong ambition she soon decides to sacrifice her success to achieve a bigger goal – to fight racism on the show.

Every actor brought vibrancy and energy to the show and really managed to bring the upbeat, catchy music alive.

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For me, the stars of the show were Tracy’s parents, Edna and Wilbur, performed by Tony Maudsley and Peter Duncan.

They were crude, loud and their comic timing was impeccable and provided most of the laugh-out-loud moments of the play.

Claire Sweeney, who played the producer of The Corny Collins Show, also deserves a mention as her over-the-top panto villain-style earned plenty of smiles from the audience.

Best vocals of the night undoubtedly came from Motormouth Maybelle, played by X Factor’s Brenda Edwards, who sings a powerful, ear-busting rendition of I Know Where I’ve Been – a song about segregation and race issues.

Hairspray will be at Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday with performances at 7.30pm each evening and 2.30pm matinees on Thursday and Saturday.

Tickets, priced £18.50-48.50, are available from www.atgtickets/bristol or by calling 08448 713012.