Published: 08:00, 31 August 2017
| Updated: 08:14, 31 August 2017
If you're looking for a way to beat the back to school blues this autumn, then a good burst of Hairspray could be the thing for you.
It's an unashamedly feel-good musical.
Set in 1960s Baltimore, where racial segregation is part of life, Rebecca Mendoza makes her professional debut with an effervescent performance as the loveable Tracy Turnblad. A big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart and set to follow her dreams by dancing her way on to national TV.
Tracy’s audition makes her a US small town star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for what she believes in and possibly find a little love along the way.
From the opening sunshine numbers, the audience is dazzled with colour and energy from the whole cast in their bright costumes, impressive lighting and clever back projections.
Mendoza commands the stage and sparkles her way through the bright musical numbers including Welcome to the 60s and You Can't Stop the Beat and puts heart and soul into the dream sequence of I Can Hear The Bells.
The chemistry between Matt Rixon and Norman Pace, playing Tracy's Kindly parents allows for a delightful amount of ad-libbing and Rixon gives a larger than life performance powering his way through Welcome to the 60s.
The charisma and huge voice of former X-Factor semi-finalist Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle fills the theatre and is inspirational in Big, Blonde and Beautiful and I know Where I've Been.
With a live orchestra, tight harmonies and sharp choreography from the supporting cast and some explosive song and dance solos from Layton Williams as Seaweed, the show certainly gets the Baltimore Beat going.
For a show that's more pink and frothy than a strawberry milkshake at an American diner, catch Hairspray until Saturday, September 9 at The Orchard Theatre, Home Gardens, Dartford, DA1 1ED visit orchardtheatre.co.uk or call 01322 220000.
Review by Ashley Austen.
The show also heads to the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury from Tuesday, May 8 to Saturday, May 12, 2018. To book tickets call 01227 787787 or visit marlowetheatre.com
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