Arts & Culture Events Reviews

Hairspray the West End and Broadway Musical arrives In Cardiff

You can’t stop the beat of Hairspray in the New Theatre this week!

Goood Moorning Cardiff! Hairspray has returned to our city for a whole week of hair-raising performances in the New Theatre. You cannot stop the motion of the ocean or the rain from above and you certainly cannot stop the energy from this belter of a show. We went along to the opening night to see what we thought of the Baltimore based musical that challenges our social prejudices and keeps us singing and dancing till the final curtain.

Celebrating over 20 years of award-winning theatre, Hairspray remains a cultural sensation to this day. Finding success both on and off stage, the musical has touched the hearts of thousands across the globe promoting its strong message of integration not segregation. For such an energetic and fun musical, it must have been a challenge to craft a story that can handle some pretty intense material, but Hairspray manages it with grace and empowerment. Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan should be applauded for creating such a loving musical about a time when love was in short supply for the outcast and minority communities of America.

The show itself had so much life and colour and music that it was totally mesmerising to watch. All the cast absolutely nailed their parts, and so much praise should be showered on Katie Brace for her theatrical debut as Tracy Turnblad. She was absolutely flawless and belted out some of the show’s biggest numbers. Likewise for superstar of stage, screen and philanthropy Brenda Edwards who sang with such genuine passion it was hard not to feel moved to tears by her performance. Bringing it home with some hilarious moments, the duo of comedy legend Norman Pace and Alex Bourne rocked the house with genuine laughter. It was a joy to watch some performers having some fun on stage and feeding off the energy of the crowd.

It goes without saying of course that the live band were an absolute delight. The music of Hairspray is so upbeat and high tempo, but the band handled them with ease, bringing it home with the ultimate final number You Can’t Stop The Beat. All the rest of your favourites are there too, from Good Morning Baltimore to The Nicest Kids In Town. One thing is for certain, you’ll be singing along and will barely be able to stay in your seat as Tracy brings the community together to put on a show like no other.

Overall, Hairspray is an absolute triumph. It has everything you could want from a musical; musical madness, highs, lows, laughs, and big show stopping dance numbers. We’re going to give Hairspray four stars out of five. If you get the chance you should head to the New Theatre for your chance to join in with the Corny Collins show for just one week only.

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