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Theatre review by Julia Pattison – Hairspray at Grand Opera House

Matt Rixon and Graham MacDuff were an entertaining double act.
Matt Rixon and Graham MacDuff were an entertaining double act.

“Good Morning Baltimore” belted out Tracy Turnblad (Rosie O’Hare) in the opening number of this iconic musical, Hairspray, and you just knew you wanted more!

Rosie was outstanding as teen dreamer Tracy, a big girl, with big hair and a big heart and made the part her own.

The show earned a standing ovation by a delighted audience.

The show earned a standing ovation by a delighted audience.

Without ever preaching, this show tackled the nettle of racism and segregation back in 1962, along with body image that sent out a powerful message that’s as relevant today as it was in the sixties.

Brilliantly directed by Paul Kerryson and superb choreography by Drew McOnie, along with fabulous live music from the band directed by Richard Atkinson, this talented cast lifted you up to dizzy heights with their energy and enthusiasm.

One of the many strengths of this show was how believable the characters were – you felt their hopes and dreams for them.

There was lots of comedy, particularly featuring Tracy’s plus-size Mum Edna Turnblad, (Matt Rixon) and her husband Wilber (Graham MacDuff) – what an entertaining double act they made, sharing great comic timing, and having the audience completely onside, earning spontaneous applause at their ad-libbing in one scene when a prop didn’t work at first.

“You’re Timeless to Me” was a celebration of all they’d gone through together, and was as poignant as it was entertaining.

Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle gave a powerful rendition of “I Know Where I’ve Been”.

Lucinda Lawrence was wonderfully cool and catty as Velma Von Tussle, and Gemma Lawson was marvellously mean playing her spoilt daughter Amber.

“You Can’t Stop The Beat” was a fabulous finale, earning a standing ovation from a delighted audience.

A vibrant, colourful and energetic show,that would appeal to an audience of all ages.