REVIEW: The New Girl Is (back) In Town in feel-good show
PUBLISHED: 13:00 06 March 2018
The cast of Hairspray welcomed us back to the 1960s as the hilarious show opened at the Bristol Hippodrome last night (Monday).
In 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, plump teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show.
Tracy auditions for the show and becomes an overnight sensation; soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging the show’s heartthrob Link Larkin (played by Edward Chitticks) along the way.
But disaster strikes when Tracy takes part in a peaceful march to protest racial segregation and ends up on the run from the police.
The musical is based on the 1988 film of the same name which starred Divine and Ricki Lake.
Following the show’s phenomenal success, it went on to be revamped and released in 2007 as a film which starred Michelle Pfeiffer, John Travolta, Queen Latifah and Zac Efron.
The whole cast made this feel-good show a success, with brilliant 1960s-inspired choreography and catchy tunes which I am still humming as I write this review.
Rebecca Mendoza did a brilliant job of playing leading lady Tracy Turnblad, bringing her own twist and flair to each hit song from the musical.
From the opening bars of Good Morning Baltimore to the finale song You Can’t Stop The Beat, her voice really stood out and you couldn’t help but fall in love with her charming character.
Mendoza was able to capture the youngster in us all with her love for Chitticks’ character Link, her fawning and gushing over the ‘dreamboat’ earned more than a few laughs from the audience.
Her friendship with the awkward and studious Penny Pingleton (played by Annalise Liard-Bailey) was also something to behold as the pair bounced off each other.
X Factor finalist Brenda Edwards stepped into the shoes of superstar Queen Latifah as she took to the stage as Motormouth Maybelle and wow, did she stun the crowd.
Her rendition of I Know Where I’ve Been was truly breathtaking and you could almost feel the pain and oppression the black and ethnic minority must have felt in the 1960s.
Parental pair Edna and Wilbur Turnblad (played by Matt Rixon and ITV comedy legend Norman Pace respectively) were comedy stars on opening night.
The duo bounced off each other and had a strong friendship, as shown by their connection during their performance of You’re Timeless To Me.
There were a few unexpected jokes and apparent prop failures which only added to their hilarity and I was nearly in tears of laughter.
But no show would be complete without the ‘bad guys’ and Gina Murray’s Velma Von Tussle and Aimee Moore’s Amber Von Tussle nailed it.
Murray’s leading song Miss Baltimore Crabs sent shivers up my spine, accomplishing the songs main role to strike fear into her competition.
The whole show was overflowing with funny jokes, anecdotes and quirky surprises and you would be hard pushed to find someone leaving the theatre who did not have a smile on their face.
Hairspray will be at the Hippodrome, in St Augustines Parade, at 7.30pm from March today (Tuesday) to Saturday.
There will also be two additional performances tomorrow (Wednesday) and Saturday.
Tickets, priced £17.50-66, are available from the theatre’s website or from 08448 717627.