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You cant stop humming the beat!
Member Name: Densiegirl
Date: 27/03/09, updated on 27/03/09 (51 review reads)
Advantages: A powerful message delivered in a positive way.
Disadvantages: That I didn't get to see it more often!
I was lucky enough to see this show a couple of weeks after it opened and again 3 weeks ago. There have been some changes but nothing too drastic.
The cast have also changed slightly but this does not detract from the show, if anything it probably keeps it fresh. Nigel Planer is now playing Wilbur and Verity Rushworth (Donna Dingle from Emmerdale - who knew she could sing so well) has taken over the role of Penny Pingleton.
The story revolves round Tracy Turnblad (played wonderfully by Leanne Jones) and her friend Penny, her parents Wilbur and Edna (played fantastically by Michael Ball). Tracy is a big girl with big dreams and the show follows her journey as she fulfils these dreams - mainly making the man of her dreams Link Larkin (played with such energy by Ben James-Eillis, who was one of the final Joseph's in the TV show) realise that she is the girl of his dreams whilst in between times overcoming other people's prejudices.
The first time I saw the show I had no idea of the story and was a little taken aback at some of the terminology used, mainly with regard to the race issues, but this story is set in a time where segregation was accepted. I thought it handled a really sensitive issue in a positive and upbeat way and before you know it you are caught up in the story.
As was said in a previous review you do smile so constantly you will have sore cheeks when you leave the theatre, although there are many thought provoking moments.
The songs are very catchy and you will be humming them for the rest of the night. Motormouth Maybelle's song 'I Know Where I've Been' is a truly powerful moment of the show, and when I last saw the show, this part was played by Sandra Marvin who had an enormously powerful voice and was excellent although she was one of the understudies.
Michael Ball is wonderful as Edna, and I believe many of his fans complained to the box office in the first few weeks of the show that he was not in it, as they had not recognised him as the costume/make up etc was so good.
I was disappointed in the film as they cut a couple of songs which are sung in the show, in particular 'Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now'.
This definately works better as a live show than a film as you really absorb the energy from being there, so if you liked the film you will love the live show.
Michael Ball finishes his run as Edna on 25th July 2009, so catch him if you can although the rest of the cast are so strong I am sure it will be just as good with his replacement, who as of yet has not been named.
Seat prices range from £22.50 - £62.50, I have sat in both the cheapest and dearest seats and would say that I enjoyed the show equally from both seats, so if all you can get is a cheaper seat then take it as you dont want to miss this and it is worth every penny.
Summary: Fast paced, well cast, upbeat show, that I cant praise enough - a real must see.