REVIEW: Hairspray, The Lowry Theatre, Salford

“Something inside of me makes me move…..”

And move I did.

As the opening bars of ‘Good Morning Baltimore’ began, as smile spread itself across my face and didn’t leave until the curtain dropped.


Hairspray, started life as a movie back in 1988 starring now talkshow host, Rikki Lake as central character, Tracy Turnblad.
This time, the role goes to 22 year old Freya Sutton from Northwich, Cheshire, on what you might call home turf, for her professional theatre debut.

HAIRSPRAY Freya Sutton plays Tracy Turnblad Photo by Hugo Glendinning

However, the seemingly bubblegum musical has it’s roots in a real life event which prompted huge changes in American history.

Telling the story of the ‘Corny Collins Show’- a show Tracy and her best friend Penny Pingleton (brilliantly played by Lauren Hood – her comic timing was perfection) rush home each night after school to see – that saw only white teens perform on as regular dancers.

But Tracy wants to see change and with the help of her friend, (and later Penny’s love interest) Seaweed, sets about ringing in those changes, much to the dismissal of the show’s producer, Velma Von Tussle.

X Factor veteran, Marcus Collins reminded the audience of his vocal props but also showed off his dancing and utterly charming side.Image

Former Eastender Lucy Benjamin shook off her incarnation as miserable Lisa and made way for Velma Von Tussle in a big way, proving she had the pipes to tackle the tour as well as showing the comic book villain side we all love to hate.
And Waterloo Road’s Mark Benton removed the specs and beard and donned Edna Turnblad’s housecoat in spectacular fashion, pulling off a touching, yet fabulously hilarious turn alongside Paul Rider’s Wilbur.

HAIRSPRAY Mark Benton plays Edna Turnblad Photo by Hugo Glendinning

But it was the lesser heard roles that truly impressed.
Sandra Marvin as Motormouth Maybelle, stunned the audience with her showstopping number ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ and Gabrielle Brooks as Seaweed’s younger sister, Inez, is clearly a future star in the making.
With wholesome family 60’s entertainment and a side order or cheekiness, Hairspray is a feel-good night out from start to finish.

As the encore of ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’ kicked in again the audience rose to their feet both in joy and genuine appreciation.

Hairspray The Musical continues around the UK until September


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