Hairspray review. 3rd – 7th November at the Lyceum Theatre, Crewe

tracyCurtain Call Productions have brought their latest production – Hairspray – to Crewe’s Lyceum Theatre.

After their previous sell –out, smash hit shows; Grease, Our House, Rent & Beauty & The Beast, Hairspray has a lot to live up to, and boy does it ever!

Set in 1962 Baltimore, the story is about Tracy Turnblad,  an overweight teenager with all the right moves who is obsessed with the Corny Collins Show.  Every day after school Tracy and her best friend Penny run home to watch the show and, more importantly, heartthrob Link Larkin perform, much to Tracy’s mother Edna’s dismay.

When one of the stars of the show takes time off, Corny Collins holds auditions to see who will be the next person on the Corny Collins show.

With help of her friend and fellow ‘special education’ student, Seaweed, Tracy makes it on the show, angering the evil dance queen Amber Von Tussle and her mother Velma, the producer of the Corny Collins show.

ednaTracy thinks it’s unfair that the black kids can only dance on the Corny Collins Show once a month, and with the help of Seaweed, Link, Penny, Motormouth,  Wilbur and Edna, she’s going to integrate the show…..

Lianne Lewis makes her ‘leading lady‘ debut as Tracy and what a brilliant debut it is!  From beginning to end she gives it her all, resulting in a faultless performance.  With her excellent vocals, characterisation and dancing ability, i;m sure this will not be her last time in a lead role.

Steven Coles and Rob Earl  portray Tracy’s Mother (Edna) and Father (Wilbur).  Individually they are strong actors, however when they are in scenes together both put in sublime and show stealing performances.  Their duet for the song Timeless is unbelievably good and for me, one of the stand out highlights of the show and gained them a standing ovation from the audience.


Another one of the major highlights is Motormouth’s big number,  I Know Where I’ve Been.  Rarely have I been so utterly mesmerised by a vocal performance, but Ejizo Melkam and the rest of the cast captivated the audience and there were more than a few emotional tears shed in the auditorium.   I really can’t do it justice in words,  I just hope that you have tickets for the show to experience it for yourself.

wilburThe remaining principals – Ben Stubbs (Corny Collins), Sean Hargreaves (Link Larkin), Deborah Cornock (Velma Von Tussle), Beth Kerrigan (Amber Von Tussle), Rachel Clifford (Penny Pingleton) & Jacob McIntosh (Seaweed) all worked very hard and showed some very good and very polished performances, both visually and aurally.

With big show anthems – You Can’t Stop the Beat, Good Morning Baltimore and Welcome to the Sixties, to name a few, most of the crowd were singing along, foot tapping or both!

The only niggle with the show on this night, was the occasional loud bangs and crackles caused by the audio equipment/microphones which could be a bit startling at times.  However I’m sure that will be rectified for the next show and this minor irritation does not detract in any way from this cracking musical performance.

The entire cast must be credited for their vocals and dance numbers.  The whole show looks and sounds amazing.

The Production team of Joel Montague, Gail Montague and Malcolm Forbes-Peckham can be incredibly proud of what they have achieved with Hairspray, and especially of their wonderful, talented cast that the company is lucky enough to be blessed with.

If you want to see Hairspray, limited tickets are available the from Lyceum Theatre Box Office – click here, but be quick because there really aren’t many left.

Performances are 7.45 nightly with an afternoon matinee on Saturday.

Pictures courtesy of Curtain Call Priductions

Hairspray review by Stephanie Heath