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Review: Hairspray is eternally relevant – and spectacular to behold

The costumes are as colourful as the personalities, the music is as timeless as ever, and the cast put on a wonderful show

The 2021 stage tour of Hairspray, currently at the Palace Theatre, is spectacular to behold. 

Tracy Turnblad welcomes you to the sixties with classics like Good Morning Baltimore, I Hear the Bells, Without Love and many more.

Every single person, from lead role to casting director to sound technician to costume designer, has given it their all in the spirit of the show itself. 

Hairspray is a show about radical self-acceptance and fighting for what’s right.

The story follows Tracy (Katie Brace) and her sidekick Penny Pingleton (Rebecca Jayne-Davies) as Tracy auditions for dance show The Corny Collins Show (hosted by Corny Collins, of course) and breaks new ground as their first fat performer.

And she isn’t stopping there. 

She campaigns alongside fellow detention-goer Seaweed (Akeem Ellis-Hyman), his mother Motormouth Maybelle (Brenda Edwards), and his adorable sister Little Inez (Charlotte St Croix) for the show to be fully integrated.

The show tackles themes of racial segregation in a dynamic and heart-wrenching way. 

Props must be given to Akeem Ellis-Hyman for his stunning performance – his vocals and charisma blew me away.

As for Katie Brace, I was shocked to find out that this is the powerhouse vocalist’s theatre debut. She is a natural on stage in the same way that seasoned performers are. 

Particularly striking to me is the scene in which the police break up the first protest Tracy stages, as well as the treatment of the characters following their imprisonment.

Though a short scene, I feel it touches on issues of racial bias in the justice system that unfortunately, remain an issue today. 

It may be a cliché that Hairspray is eternally relevant, but it just goes to show that, unfortunately, not much has changed since John Waters wrote and produced the 1988 film.

But, as Hairspray teaches, there is hope yet.

And this run of Hairspray is not one to miss. 

The costumes are as colourful as the personalities, the music is as timeless as ever, and the cast put on a wonderful show.

It is well worth the money to see. 

Hairspray is running at The Palace Theatre from the 25th-30th of October, and tickets are available from £13 here.


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