Newest Review: ... and I was like 'mum, how can you spend that much on tickets..I hope it better be a good show or it's a total waste of money!' my mum ... more
Needs more hairspray to hold this up!
Member Name: kama0529
Advantages: Watchable. Good performances from Brian Connley & Mickey Dolenz.
Disadvantages: Not up to scratch. Poor set. Disconnected from audience.
I saw Hairspray in March 2010 - and I was incredibly disappointed in its production. I've been an avid theatre goer for about the last 25 years, and I always tend to go to a production for the first time feeling positive and expecting to be entertained to a very high standard, particular in the West End. Hairspray has been hugely successful - and therefore in my mind it followed that it was going to be a very professional and polished production. I really didn't think it met the standard that I would expect.
So, what was my problem with it. Well, don't get me wrong.....its not terrible, but it just isn't that good either. I'd seen the movie a couple of times and I always found it charming in its innocence and energy - and of course Rikky Lake was great in it - but somehow on stage it was just a little disconnected. It had the ambiance of a pantomime, and although there is nothing wrong with pantomime per se, I wouldn't pay £70 to go and see one and I certainly would only opt to go at Christmas with a couple of kids in tow.
As the film of the same name, the story focuses on Tracy Turnblad, a 1960's overweight, likable and cheerful schoolgirl who, against the odds, becomes a dancer on the Corny Collins Show. Her experiences lead her to become aware of prejudice in the form of racism, and she invokes on a campaign to irradicate racism within Baltimore through music and dance. Typically, there is the ante-hero "Velma Von Tussle" who does her best to keep racial separation a reality. As a backdrop to the whole show is Tracy's desire to get the hunky Link Larkin to be her boyfriend - and we follow her as her dream becomes a reality.
The story is identical to the film, yet I found most of the characters to be irritating rather than likable. The characters were very two dimensional and the lack of depth meant that I could not feel any connection to the characters and didn't really care what happened to them.
The songs are identical to that in the film - and they are catchy and pleasant enough. Again, there was nothing that really stood out to me as fantastic or particularly memorable, but they were okay and easy listening.
There were some decent performances though. Brian Connely was great as Edna Turnblad (Tracy's mother), as was Mickey Dolenz as Wilber Turnblad. Emma Dukes as Penny was very convincing and, for me, was probably the best performer of the night. Laurie Scarth as the lead character was just okay, but if I'm being honest, was a little screechy and uncharismatic.
The set was unimaginative and tacky. With the sophistication that goes into sets these days, I couldn't help but think that it was very poor in comparison. It really didn't see much better than the scenery you might get in a good school production.
Overall my main complaint was that it just didn't engage me. It was watchable....but unmemorable. I smiled - but it didn't move me. It felt like the actors were saying their lines and dancing their dances - but that they weren't really feeling what they were doing. They seemed as disconnected from themselves as I felt they were from the audience.
All in all, I won't be seeing Hairspray again, and with so many other productions on offer, I would urge you to opt for something else!
Summary: Go see something else!
More reviews in the field of Theatre / Musical National
- The Bard's "King Lear" performed in his own home town
- The true definition of what it means to be successful in the West End.
- Sister Act not quite the smash hit I was expecting.
- Pay fifty quid to be treated like a kid? The Echo Arena Liverpool.
- A musical everyone must see at least once in their lives!
- Blown away with this Journey Through Time.
- Wish you were here?
- Something baaaaad is happening in Oz
- Dublin, Manchester, Glasgow and the rest of you I am jealous!!!!
- And Iiiiiiiiiiiii will always love youuuuuuuuuu! *sheds a tear*