Cast of Hairspray Musical doing a dance number

Hairspray, Edinburgh Playhouse

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Tue 23 Feb 2016

Last night I went along to the opening performance of the musical Hairspray at Edinburgh Playhouse. I love musicals, but didn’t know much about this one. I knew it was a popular show and also a film, and was looking forward to discovering more.

Tracy Turnblad character from Hairspray Musical

The outline in the programme gives a great introduction to the story, which is set in Baltimore in 1962, during the struggle for racial equality in the USA:

Tracy Turnblad is a big girl with big hair and an even bigger dream: to dance her way onto national TV and into the heart of teen idol Link Larkin. Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new found fame to fight for integration. But can she win equality .. and Link’s heart .. without denting her ‘do?

The show looked fantastic with colourful sets and costumes. I really enjoyed the music, which was upbeat and catchy. Even though I didn’t know the songs beforehand, I found myself singing “You can’t stop the beat” all the way home!

The performers were amazing – fantastic singing, dancing and acting, and all with such enthusiasm. You would never know they had performed it hundreds of times before. It’s can be easy to forget that all the music is live too. So I loved the fact the orchestra were on stage, at the top of the set, instead of hidden away below the stage.

The story explores many serious issues, including racism, prejudice and inequality. The show is all about loving yourself and those around you. It’s also a reminder of the brave people who stood up for equality in the 60s and changed the world. Music brings people together, so it is a great platform to tell this kind of story.

I thought the show was brilliant and would like to see the film now too. It is on in Edinburgh until 27th February.

Edinburgh Playhouse, 18-22 Greenside Lane, Edinburgh, EH1 3AA