Hairspray At Blackpool Opera House Review


Reviewed by Cath Joyce

Last night we went to Blackpool Opera House to see the smash hit musical Hairspray. Situated within Blackpool’s famous Winter Gardens, the Opera House is one of the UK’s largest theatres and seats almost 3,000 people. The theatre is in the centre of Blackpool and there are plenty of car parks nearby.

The musical is set in 1962, in Baltimore, at a time when racial segregation was the norm, but the teenagers are starting to rebel against their parents and demand change. Tracy Turnblad, a plump teenager with a big heart, dreams of joining her heroes who dance in the nightly Corny Collins TV Show. She races home from school every night to watch the show with her best friend Penny and when one of the dancers leaves, an audition is held for their replacement. Initially discouraged from applying by her mother, who feared Tracey would be laughed it, she is then encouraged to apply by her father, Wilbur. After learning some new dance moves from her friend Seaweed whilst they are in detention, Tracy gets her break and joins the show.

The show opens with Tracy singing the popular song, Good Morning Baltimore and we are then treated to over 2 hours of singing and dancing, including hits from the movie, such as, I Can Hear the Bells, It Takes Two and Good Morning Baltimore. You can’t help but sign along and when we reached the final song – You Can’t Stop the Beat the whole audience were on their feet dancing and singing which was fantastic to see.

Katie Brace, who plays Tracy, put on an amazing performance last night. She has a great voice and was a pleasure to watch.

Tracy’s parents, Wilbur and Edna, are played by John Thomson and Alex Bourne and are absolutely brilliant together, especially in the song “You’re timeless to me” They have a real rapport and were a big hit with the audience. This was John’s first on stage role and whilst his dancing skills weren’t quite up to the standard of the rest of the cast, he more than made up for that with his stage presence and great double act with Alex.

The whole cast were great but if I had to pick a stand out performance then it has to be Motormouth Maybelle’s rendition of “I Know Where I’ve Been” performed by Brenda Edwards. She has such a powerful voice and the audience loved her.

The only criticism we had of the show was we felt the set was quite basic, with only two brick walls at each side of the stage. The bottom half of the wall opened for both Tracy and Penny’s houses. Images were projected to the back of the stage which works but isn’t as impressive as a proper stage set. The Opera House stage is quite large and we felt the cast did look a little lost at times with so little staging.

Hairspray is an energetic, funny, lively musical that is just what we all need at the minute. Directed by Paul Kerryson it is showing at Blackpool Opera House until Sunday 2nd January.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Tickets cost from £17.50 plus a service charge of £2.15 per ticket and a handling fee of £2.25

Hairspray is at Blackpool Opera House until 2nd January

For more information or to book tickets visit

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