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  • Writer's pictureJohn Murray

Hairspray – The Broadway Musical

This week an all star cast play Hairspray The Musical at Edinburgh Playhouse. Joining Brenda Edwards (from X Factor) are Claire Sweeney, Peter Duncan (Blue Peter) and Tony Maudsley from Benidorm on ITV. Set in Baltimore 1962 the music styles and dance fads of the day are revived in a colourful set and an energetic cast as Tracy Turnblad aims to get on national TV to dance. Her mum Edna (played by Tony Maudsley) tries to stop her and she ends up in jail as we see the making of the Corny Collins Show for local TV. There is a huge cast though and a full live band on stage and wonderfully 60’s costuming. All the songs are originals so no covers here but the style could not have been more like the era with Motown girl group and soloists, stompin’ pop songs and dance fads like the long forgotten Madison. There are many songs and you may just know these too like Good Morning Baltimore, You’re Timeless To Me and the huge closing number You Can’t Stop the Beat. When I say huge, the audience were on their feet as all the stops were pulled off the rack with pyros, disco lighting, acrobatic dance, choreographed chorus and a teaser reprise earning a standing ovation. Now that is how to end a show. Originally a John Waters 1988 comedy movie, the stage show in this new production has been touring since last year consistently throughout the UK. Quite separately from the story of the small town girl becoming famous, the underlying theme of race reflects those times and the integrating message is as important as the entertainment factor. Freya Sutton in the lead role is on stage throughout and adds her likeability to this formidable cast.

Edinburgh Playhouse till Feb 27

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