FRINGE REVIEW -Royal High Productions, Hairspray

*****

23 – 28 August 14:30 (17:00) and 19:30 (22:00) @ Royal High School

By the McNaughton family review team

Having been fans of the movie ‘Hairspray’ with John Travolta, but never having seen it on stage, we were really looking forward to seeing this production, and Royal High Productions did it so well!

The scene is set in the early 1960s, with the 1950s being so far out they’re like ‘last millennium’ to the kids of the time.  In Baltimore, Tracy Turnblad is a young schoolgirl keeping up with the latest fashions – a big girl with big hair and a big crush on a TV star ‘Link Larkin’ who is also one of the seniors in her high school.  When the TV show ‘The Corny Collins Show’ puts out a call to young performers to audition for a place, Tracy skips school with her friend Penny, missing detention with her coloured friends to try out for a place.  For this is the very early sixties, and racial segregation is still an issue, and one which puzzles young Tracy who doesn’t see why everyone can’t dance and sing together.

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll realise that the serious issue of racial integration underpins a comedic score but there are many funny moments to lighten the tensions.  As in all good pantomime, there is a dame – this time in the form of Tracy’s mother, Edna Turnblad, whose role is played by a man.  In this production this part is taken by Cameron Henderson who settles well into his role as the show progresses and by the end is loving the role and the amusement it brings to the audience.  A really brave performance from such a young man.

It is difficult amongst such an accomplished cast of school children to single out some at the risk of leaving out others, but Kat Croan and Kenneth Brown who play the parts of Tracy and Link deserve plaudits for their strong performances, and Chantelle Hoyle as Motormouth Maybelle is a very strong vocal talent we’re sure we’re going to see more of.  Our junior reviewers were also excited to see Anicee Landao bringing her considerable energies to the role of Little Inez.  But there really were some great performances from so many others too.

As the show Hairspray is coming to the Playhouse in December this year, it might be a chance for those who can’t afford to pay ‘West End’ prices in the East of Edinburgh to catch a show.  If you haven’t travelled outside of the centre of Edinburgh to catch a Fringe show, make this the one you go to – the 41 bus will take you there!

Added comments by Helen (12): enjoyed every minute of it. All the family can go along to it for the same price as one ticket to go to the Playhouse and probably much better too!

Added comments by Johanna (12 this week!): Amazing performance. Fantastic cast. Amazing voices.

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