Mayflower Southampton – until 21 November 2015
Then touring until May 2016
Based on the classic 1988 film and subsequent Tony award-winning Broadway production this is an all-singing, all-dancing delight of a show. It’s the story of a larger-than-life teenager who is fighting both sizeism prejudices and trying to bring colour integration into a wholesome 1960s early evening entertainment programme. This effervescent teen, Tracy Turnblad, falls in love and has a few scrapes along the way, which makes for a super fun entertaining show.
Freya Sutton is Tracy, and my goodness, what charismatic stage presence she has in conjunction with a stunningly beautiful voice; she is a joy in the role. Ashley Gilmour plays her love interest Link and he has the cute all American role off to a tee.
Dex Lee as Seaweed complements Monique Young‘s Penny wonderfully and I particularly enjoyed their part in the song “Without Love“. Vibrantly coloured costumes and staging with sassy choreography make for immense enjoyment.
Following in both Michael Ball’s (West End) and John Travolta’s (2007 film) mighty shoes would be hard acts for anyone to follow. However Tony Maudsley did just that as Edna Turnblad and commanded the role so well that the aforementioned were soon a distant memory.
Photo Credit Ellie Kurttz
Other noteworthy performances amongst many came from Claire Sweeney as the formidable, power-hungry controlling mother Velma, and reminded me why she has been at the top of her profession for so long. Brenda Edwards as Seaweeds mother Motormouth Maybelle whose powerful voice was a joy and Peter Duncan’s Wilbur was very endearing.
This show with its catchy tunes, perfectly executed choreography and strong performances was a fun fest of an evenings entertainment. The last song “You Can’t Stop The Beat” which had us all clapping along and dancing in our seats is absolutely apt in its title. For why would you want to, when the feeling these performances give you are this good?
Trust me you’ll be humming this shows songs for a good few days after and isn’t that evidence enough on how great this show is. As for our Tracy Freya Sutton I shall be watching her career with interest she is definitely gong places, and I don’t mean just on the rest of the tour which you should catch when it’s in a town near you!
HAIRSPRAY – Mayflower Southampton until 21st November then Touring