Welcome to the 60s with Hairspray!
Katherine Sullivan | On 09, Apr 2016
Following their enormous success of their Arena Spectacular version of Cats in 2014, Harvest Rain Theatre Company wows audiences again with Hairspray: The Big Fat Arena Spectacular. This musical extravaganza is guaranteed to have you dancing in the aisles, big hair and all.
It’s 1962, and pleasantly plump Baltimore teen Tracy Turnblad (played by Lauren McKenna) has only one desire – to be on television dancing on the popular Corny Collins Show. When her dream comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star, but she must use her newfound power to vanquish the reigning Teen Queen, win the affections of heartthrob Link Larkin and integrate a television network – all without denting her ‘do!
A sell-out crowd flocked to the opening night at the Brisbane Convention Centre and with a cast of over 800 performers, there really was an enormous amount of people in the one room. In saying that, the convention centre was the perfect venue for the musical as it allowed for copious amounts of space for the performers to dance. Not restricted to the stage, the performers were able to groove and shake close to the audience and it really created a personal atmosphere. It didnâ€™t matter where your seat was in the theatre, the music was loud and the dialogue was crystal clear.
Directed and choreography by Callum Mansfield, this energetic and fun musical is definitely a must-see for the whole family. Mansfield has crafted a clever adaptation that John Waters would be proud of. With an A-list cast including the likes of Simon Burke, Christine Anu, Tim Campbell, Wayne Scott Kermond and Amanda Muggleton, this production is a real step up for the ever-expanding Brisbane based Theatre Company. The real star of the show was found in the fast-paced choreography. Mansfield was able to successfully create routines that were performed animatedly by the performers.
Lauren McKenna as the loveable Tracy Turnblad captivated the audiences from the moment she bounced onto stage and sung Good Morning Baltimore. Any doubts surrounding her portrayal of the iconic character quickly vanished as she embraced the big hair and crazy costumes. Amanda Muggleton, who plays the scheming Velma Von Tussle, was fierce as she strutted across the stage. She showcased an impressive vocal range that was worth the cost of the ticket price alone.
Playing the drag role of Edna, Simon Burke was hilarious as Traceyâ€™s mother. His comedic timing was spot on and the chemistry between him and his on-stage husband Wilbur (played by Wayne Scott Kermond) was obvious as they sung the scene stealing duet Timeless to me.
Along with the musicalâ€™s light hearted humour and catchy songs, there are more important themes displayed throughout the show such as the integration and segregation issues that took place in the 60s. Christine Anu was captivating as Motormouth Maybelle, the host of the once a month Negro Day on the Corny Collins Show. She is a powerful voice for change and brought the roof down when she sung the emotional, I Know Where Iâ€™ve Been.
Harvest Rain Theatre Company have set the bar high with Hairspray. Itâ€™s a first class production that deserves a tour across the country. Only in Brisbane for two days, grab a ticket and get ready to visit the 60â€™s and all the enduring and wacky characters of Baltimore.
WhatÂ Â Hairspray: The Big Fat Arena Spectacular
WhereÂ Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
When Â 8-10 April, 2016
How MuchÂ Tickets from $69
For more details or your ticket, head to the Hairspray website here.
Image Credit: Harvest Rain Theatre Company