Top billing goes to Tony Maudsley as Edna Turnblad who gives an effortless performance.
Tracy Turnblad is a young girl with dreams of becoming a famous TV dancer. When one of the dancers on the Corny Collins show must leave the Tracy sees her opportunity. Despite Velma Von Tussle’s body shaming shenanigans Tracy's talents shine through and she finds herself on the show. Trouble ensues when she leads a protest to turn the racial segregated show into an integrated one.
The productions real strength comes from a solid script and Marc Shaiman’s 60s’ soul inspired score. It has real heart and tackles the topics of racism and body weight without becoming trite or over sentimental. The ending is schmaltzy and slightly inconsistent with the rest of the show, but I’m sure most people won’t mind that all the character arcs are tied up in a neat little bow.
Some of the jokes failed to land on the night, not because they were bad, but because some cast members delivered them as jokes rather than something their character would earnestly say. It’s a fine line between satire and chewing the scenery and it’s important to get it right with a script laden with quality gags. At the very least they managed to get a usually conservative Edinburgh audience to give around of applause to a few dick jokes – something I’ve often failed to do!
Freya Sutton does a great job of holding the production together; her carefree fun-loving performance is infectious. The character is sweet and earnest without becoming a trite irritating Disney princess.
Top billing goes to Tony Maudsley as Edna Turnblad who gives an effortless performance. Maybe it’s his time spent working with soon to be realised national treasure Andy Hamilton, who truly understand how to construct a good comedy character. Too often this role is played for cheap laughs but Maudsely inhibits the part to the point it’s often easy to forget that there is an actor on stage at all.
Hairspray is a joy to watch and if you don't come out humming with a smile on your face you might need to go home and hold a mirror under your nose to see if you are still breathing.