The curtain has lifted on Harrogate St Andrew’s Players’ Hairspray! The Musical. We are taken back to 1962and meet Tracy Turnblad, the big girl with the big hair and the big dream – to fight for equality and racial integration.
The show starts as it means to go on with high energy, bright lights and an abundance of colour.
We are introduced to the popular Corny Collins TV Show, featuring a cast of all white dancers except for once a month when they hold ‘Negro Day’ and allow black dancers to feature. That is about to change as we watch Tracy and friends fight the prejudices of the show’s producer, Velma von Tussle, and her protegee daughter Amber von Tussle.
Charlotte McCamley gives an accomplished and outstanding performance as Tracy Turnblad who also wins the love of teenage heart-throb Link Larkin, played charmingly by Players’ newcomer Matthew Ainsworth.
The partnership of Richard Billings and Peter Whitley, in the roles of Edna and Wilbur Turnblad, is superb. Their chemistry, comic timing and characterisation is second to none and You’re Timeless To Me was a highlight.
We see Jessica Gardham in a different light following her appearance on BBC 1 MasterChef as she takes on the role of DJ Motormouth Maybelle. She is an absolute powerhouse!
During the closing number, You Can’t Stop The Beat, with its complex choreography, you appreciate the talent and stamina of this cast. It would be remiss not to mention the band, led by MD Jim Lunt, and the tremendous sound they filled the theatre with.
The entire cast came together as a seamless ensemble. There were particularly strong performances from Lizzie Parry, Elisha Ainsley, Chris Knight, Toni Wood, Ben Walton, Eve Midgley and Susannah Todd.
It can be seen today at 7.30pm; tomorrow at 4pm and 8pm and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
Tickets: www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01423 502116.