Hairspray at the Alhambra Theatre Bradford Review

Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

9-14 November 2015


Reviewed by Claire Giles

I was so excited to go see Hairspray. I am a big fan of the classic hit 1988 film and my 11 year old daughter who attended with me is a fan of the 2007 film remake. I had high hopes for the musical and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

The Alhambra is one of my favourite theatres. The theatre is visually stunning both inside and out. The staff are always very welcoming, helpful and friendly. It is easily located and accessible in Bradford City Centre with plenty of payable parking nearby.

The musical set in 1960’s Baltimore revolves around the story of plus-sized Tracy Turnblad who doesn’t fit in with the social norm and her fight to overcome the norm. Tracy is a massive fan of TV show The Corny Collins Show and its singing / dancing teen committee members. She is hopelessly in love with heartthrob committee member Link Larkin. After finding out that the show is looking for a new committee member Tracy sets forth to win the coveted spot and the heart of Link. This story interlinks with the issue of colour segregation on the show where black and white committee members are not allowed to dance together. Tracy after making friends with the black show members sets forward to integrate the show much to the horror of the show’s producer. This all leads to a big spectacular grand finale on the show involving all the characters.

Freya Sutton was fantastic in her role as Tracy but the performances that really made the show for me was Tony Maudsley as Tracy’s mother Edna. He delivered some brilliant one liner’s and had the audience laughing out loud. Claire Sweeney as Velma Von Tussle played her role excellently and actually came down into the audience in parts. When her daughter lost the Miss Teenage Hairspray contest she actually came into the audience and was shouting at the audience members in the front row. Making them feel like part of the performance (and making me glad I wasn’t sat on the front row!). Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle has the most stunning voice and her performance of I Know Where I’ve Been was breathtaking.

The shows choreography was outstanding and made the songs come alive on stage. The songs were all well performed and the performances were upbeat as well as delivering a powerful message. The costumes though period fitting were colourful and outlandish and the hair was huge (held up by all the hairspray!). The live band was actually up on the stage and cleverly made into part of The Corny Collins Show which really added to the musical numbers.

Both myself and my daughter loved the musical and I would highly recommend it for all.

Rating: 5/5 thumbs_up

Tickets cost from £21 to £46.50 (booking fees may apply).

Hairspray is at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford until 14 November 2o15. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01274 432000.

The Alhambra Theatre, Morley Street, Bradford, BD7 1AJ | Box Office 01274 432000


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