Review: Hairspray, Leeds Grand Theatre

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A musical about racial segregation in America, prejudice against overweight people and high school bullying could be a dismal affair – but certainly not if it’s Hairspray.

Set in Baltimore in the 1960’s it tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and a passion for dancing as she sets out to follow her dreams, inspire her larger- than-life mother and win the boy she loves.

Along the way she wins a spot on a teenage TV dance programme, is transformed into a teen celebrity and beats the evil Amber to be crowned Miss Hairspray, not to mention successfully integrating the black community into TV dance.

Hairspray is a high energy show with an even higher energy cast who sing and dance their effortlessly through brilliantly choreographed routines

Daniel Stockton as Edna Turnblad is outstanding. He captures that motherly persona and makes the transformation from a shy housewife afraid to leave the house to an ebullient supersize femme fatale who “just loves the way she is”.

But it’s the two big girls with even bigger talent, Freya Sutton as Tracy Turnblad and Sandra Marvin as Motormouth Maybelle, who steal this show showing you don’t have to be super-thin to be a superstar. With amazing costumes and wigs, clever staging and excellent musical accompaniment Hairspray is a fabulous feelgood factor musical perfect for the Bank Holiday.

To August 31.