Review: Hairspray at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham

Mark Benton as Edna Turnblad. Touring production. (Taken 9-02-13) �Tristram Kenton 02/13 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550  Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com
Mark Benton as Edna Turnblad. Touring production. (Taken 9-02-13) �Tristram Kenton 02/13 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com
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On the face of it, a musical about overcoming racial discrimination and prejudice does not sound like it would be a barrel of laughs.

But just a few seconds into Hairspray at the Theatre Royal and any doubts about whether it could work are blown away.

A scene from Hairspray @ Lowry, Manchester. Touring production.'(Taken 9-02-13)'�Tristram Kenton 02/13'(3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550  Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com

A scene from Hairspray @ Lowry, Manchester. Touring production.'(Taken 9-02-13)'�Tristram Kenton 02/13'(3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com

This show is loud and fun and colourful and hilarious, while still having a moral message we can learn from.

Freya Sutton, who plays the main character Tracy Turnblad, is a bundle of energy and enthusiasm, and captivates the crowd with her idealistic views and strong morals.

She is slightly plumper than average, but has a dream to be a dancer on the Corny Collins Show. She decides to follow this dream and win the heart of pin up boy Link Larkin - despite the best sabotage efforts of rival dancer Amber Von Tussle and her TV producer mum Velma.

Set in 1960s Baltimore, the theme of racial segregation runs throughout. Tracy cannot understand why the black kids should not also be allowed to star in the TV show and they team up to overthrow the old establishment and introduce their funky dance moves to the masses.

This is feel-good theatre at its very best.

The Hairspray cast is superb, performing the high-energy dance routines with fervour and belting out the catchy songs with some very impressive voices.

Top of the bill is well-known actor Mark Benton, who brings more than a hint of pantomime to the show in his role as Tracy’s mum Edna.

Like any Dame, he has a fabulous wardrobe of extravagant dresses and is laugh-out-loud funny, particularly in his duet with on-stage husband Wilbur.

The audience gave the show a standing ovation and it was very well-deserved.

Hairspray runs at the Theatre Royal until Saturday 13th July.