REVIEW: Hairspray, Shaftesbury Theatre (Timeless To Me!!)

At the last minute this evening I was handed a single ticket to go and watch the fabulous Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre. As Hairspray is my absolute favourite musical, frankly wild horses couldn’t stop me – especially when I found that I was front row centre!

Another fabulous performance (I’ve seen it in the West End three times now) and Adam Price makes a fantastic addition to the cast. I saw him deliver a show-stopping performance as Edna this evening due to Michael Ball no longer doing Mondays. Price has taken on the roll of first walking cover for both Wilbur and Edna, as well as first cover for Male Authority – cor, that could get slightly schizophrenic one would imagine! The current Wilbur (Ian Talbot) managed to turn a character that I don’t normally like all that much as the others into a fantastic character whom I was delighted to watch. Congratulations go to both of these new additions to the principal cast. As always however, Penny, Mrs Pingleton and Motormouth Mabel proved to be my favourite characters with amazing actors behind the facade delivering powerful performances.

Sitting at the front also meant that I got to perv on Ben James-Ellis an awful lot!!! hehe. In terms of hotties, I must say he is my ultimate hottie (after Mister Greg of course!).

(Yes, I know I already posted a perv picture of him in an earlier post… so sue me! Alas he doesn’t appear topless in Hairspray – these pics are mainly ‘Any Dream Will Do’ related, though he does get his legs out at one stage, and seems to have a penchant for wearing tight pants to dance in – hurrah!)

Highlight of the evening came when Price and Talbot delivered ‘the Jewish joke’ – Edna “I didn’t know you were Jewish”; Wilbur “Well, you never can tell!” to which Price burst out with a bout of uncontrollable laughter whilst mid-embrace with Talbot and through tears of laughter ad lib’d “oh no, you definitely can”, which set both of them off into giggling fits. I love seeing when actors completely crack up on stage; I think it shows a real strength of script and the like as even if after all of the performances that an actor turns in they can still find something as hilarious as folk hearing it for the first time, then that’s a performance that you can take all the way to the bank (as Edna would say!).

This musical is simply “Timeless to me” and I’m excited that Greg and I are already planning our next trip to Baltimore (I introduced him to the DVD last night, and he’s gagging to see this on stage as soon as I can arrange it – hurrah!). The DVD is fabulous, but the musical itself is absolutely something else. GO AND SEE IT!!

I’m going to post my original review for the show below which relates to the performance that I saw on the Press Night back in November 2007. The show hasn’t changed that much since then and is still just as awesome! I think I should win an award for the most Hairspray songs in a review of the show!

Don’t forget to check out the official website for ticketing information as well as loads of media for the show (including some excellent video clips!).

Hairspray; Welcome to the Shaftesbury!

As an avid fan of both film versions of Hairspray I found myself absolutely desperate to see this show (to the point whereby I was planning to go all the way to Broadway to see it) – one cannot help but be drawn head first into the immense media hype that the recent arrival of The Nicest Kids In Town to the West End of London has caused.

Therefore, it was with very high expectations that I sat down at the Shaftesbury Theatre last night eagerly awaiting my chance to take in this show, and I am delighted to say that this show managed to outstrip all of my heightened expectations and was truly a tour de force of musical theatre.

From the opening bars of Good Morning Baltimore I was hooked and captivated with what I saw being played out before me. The cast were absolutely fantastic. Leanne Jones as Tracy Turnblad was convincing, fantastically lovable and very well delivered, and one would never have guessed that this was the maiden role for this young actress. Michael Ball has to be one of my favourite musical personalities, and his turn as Edna Turnblad in this production was not only credible, but also hilarious, touching and at times simply camp with a capital ‘C’. Ben James-Ellis was excellent as Link Larkin and seems to have matured quite a lot in his performance style since appearing in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s televised scouting competition Any Dream Will Do. I also thought that Mel Smith put in a good performance as Wilbur Turnblad.

The supporting cast was clearly a strong company of performers whom have put a lot of effort, heart and soul into making this show the success that it will surely become.

The production itself was slick, well staged and high budget – an audio/visual feast if you will – that, despite your grand indulgence, will leave you hankering for more!

This fantastic musical definitely has a clever book/script behind it, and as such has the right blend of upbeat songs that will have you up and dancing in the aisles coupled together with songs that will make the hairs on back of your neck stand on end – hairspray not required!

I can hear the bells at the Box Office ringing for many months to come for this show and thoroughly recommend that you Run and Tell That to everybody whom you know!

About Gari

Northern lad; living out in the Peak District and rediscovering life after having had a brain tumour.

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