Review: Hairspray at Nottingham Theatre Royal

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The dark cold nights are upon us, but there’s still plenty of feelgood feelings going round Nottingham Theatre Royal this week, writes Daniel Bailey.

That’s because hit Broadway musical Hairspray is in town and if you want a seasonal pick-me-up, this show ticks all the boxes.

There’s a definite local feel to this play by the Nottingham Operatic Society, which tells the story of larger-than-life teenager Tracy Turnblad’s crusade against prejudice in early 60s America.

Her dream is to dance on The Corny Collins TV Show and when her wish comes true, she uses her new-found fame to lead a campaign aiming integrate the minorities.

Plump Tracy (Aston Fisher) is the butt of jokes from school glamour queen Amber Von Tussle (Lizzy Ives) and her pushy mother Velma (Alison Hope), but nothing will stand in her way as she bids to break down the barriers of the whites-only TV show by turning it into a melting pot of inter-racial harmony.

With plenty of singing and dancing, along with some colourful characters and costumes, Hairspray is sure to get you dancing down the aisles thanks to tunes like Good Morning Baltimore, Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now and It Takes Two.

Dan Armstrong provided the comedy moments as Tracy’s sizeable mum Edna, while Jacob Seelochan impressed with his singing voice as hunky Link Larkin.

Janine Nicole Jacques deserves a special mention as DJ Motormouth Maybelle after bringing rapturous applause from the audience with her big number I Know Where I’ve Been.

Mark Coffey-Bainbridge impressed as smarmy host Corny while Lauren Gill blossomed as plain Penny Pingelton in the show’s energetic finale.

This family-friendly musical is full of laughter, romance and wonderful songs, and is proof that this world really needs love and great music.

Hairspray runs until Saturday. Visit www.trch.co.uk for details.