Hairspray The Musical – Churchill Theatre, Bromley

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Bromley was left dancing to the beat at the press night of Hairspray The Musical, UK Tour – after it’s long awaited arrival at The Churchill Theatre on Tuesday 3rd May.

Hairspray is set in the early sixties in Baltimore and tells the heartwarming story of Tracey Turnblad, a girl with a large heart and an even larger hairstyle, who is set to make Baltimore see that life needs to change, and she doesn’t do it quietly!

Much of the 1988 film has been musicalised, without losing any of the storyline and it shows the period of the 1960’s well. It had the audience laughing one minute, to tug at the heart strings a few moments later. The show has been written and produced fantastically well and it is hard not to love the larger than life characters that have been embraced and warmed to the hearts of audiences all over the globe.

The current UK tour, directed by Paul Kerryson, is sheer perfection! The energy, music and chemistry builds from the moment we meet Tracy in Act 1. It is clear to that everybody is having a fantastic time on stage and I couldn’t help but enjoy it!

Freya Sutton plays Tracy Turnblad, her performance is astounding all evening and her moves are flawless! Matt Rixon plays Edna Turnblad, Tracy’s mother, and I really warmed to Edna and the honesty and charm in his performance. It isn’t often in a musical, which involves a family, that they gel so well – but Tracy, Edna and Wilbur Turnblad worked and performed together perfectly.

Jon Tsouras plays Corny Collins well and he has the right amount of confidence needed for this character, without being cocky. For me Brenda Edwards, who played Motormouth Mabelle – has the most amazing vocal range I have heard from an actress in many years! I have seen Hairspray several times in the West End, but Brenda took it to a new level and my hair was on end throughout her performance of “I Know Where I’ve Been”.

Claire Sweeney has perfected her inner diva, playing Velma Von Tussle. She had me laughing hysterically at her meltdown during “You Can’t Stop The Beat”, whilst she crawled into the audience, much to the surprise of the audience members – it certainly made her performance stand out!

There are many moments in the show that I could continue to write about and I am glad that Hairspray has finally arrived in Bromley. This has enabled theatre goers who may not visit the West End often o visit their local theatre to see a fantastic performance. There was lots of children in the audience and it was obvious that they had enjoyed the evening too and I heard nothing but positive comments on my way out.

You cannot but help singing and humming the music after the show has ended – I know I did…and still am! Whilst it carries a serious message of integration and understanding between communities – it’s a musical about love, emotion and equality. All thanks to this marvellous cast!

Get yourself to The Churchill Theatre where Hairspray is playing until Saturday 7th May 2016 – it then continues it’s UK tour until the end of May, visiting Stoke and Southend.

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