John Waters’ 1988 movie Hairspray has undergone a revival over the past decade. In 2002, a procuration of a new generation of fans who went on to enjoy the 2007 remake of the movie. Welsh fans were treated to the stage performance a few years ago at Wales Millennium Centre. With a new cast and recharged energy, the hit musical returns to brighten the WMC once again.
The story is based on a chubby white teenager from Baltimore, Tracy Turnblad, and the struggles she observes in her sizeist and racist 1960s society. With friends of different races and sizes, the media’s focus on weight and segregation in mainstream white America irritates Tracy, so much so that she decides to fight against prejudice. A soundtrack of cheery songs that celebrate the best in people keeps the consideration of serious issues light-hearted and accessible to all, mirroring the musical’s drive towards equality.
This version of the musical features a few famous faces. Mark Benton, most recently known for playing maths teacher Chalky in BBC’s Waterloo Road, puts a pantomime spin on the role of Edna Turnblad. Eastenders’ Lucy Benjamin makes a deliberately expressionless Velma Von Tussle. As an enthusiastic, sharp-dancing Seaweed Stubbs, The X Factor runner-up Marcus Collins proves he has so much more to his skillset than his TV stint demonstrated. With lesser-known but equally strong actresses playing Tracy Turnblad and Penny Pingleton and an ensemble of impressively voiced supporting actors, this production of Hairspray manages to bring the magic and professional standard of the West End to Wales’ capital.
Hairspray is showing at Wales Millennium Centre from 18 Jun – 29 Jun 2013.
Tickets cost £18 – £45 and are available to purchase at www.wmc.org.uk
(Check with the box office for student offers and concessions)