Review: ‘Hairspray’ sets the stage ablaze

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A HUGE multi-cultural cast in flamboyant lollypop-coloured costumes, big hair and swirling skirts, set The Erindale Theatre stage ablaze for Philo’s exuberant production of “Hairspray” last night, directed with admirable style and pizazz by Jarrad West.

Set in the ‘60s, this musical follows the adventures of overweight teenager, Tracy Turnblad, who encounters issues of body image and racial intolerance along the way to fulfilling her dream to dance on the Corny Collins television show.

Krystle Innes gives a real star performance as Tracy Turnblad, singing, dancing and acting with exhilarating confidence. She lights up the stage and provides the heart-beat of the show. Amy Dunham, as her bestie, Penny; Zack Drury playing her feckless heart-throb Link; and Vanessa de Jager, as her no-holds-barred competitor, provide excellent support. Will Huang, deliciously obsequious as Corny Collins, Nyasha Nyakuengama as Seaweed, and Jenny Lu, who sings up a storm as Motormouth Maybelle, also stand out, while Max Gambale and Steven Bardwell, obviously relishing their roles as Tracy’s parents, Edna and Wilber Turnblad, bring an unexpected charm and sly fun to their characters.

Rose Shorney’s terrific band does full justice to the rocky, tuneful score, and choreographers Amy Fitzpatrick and Nikole Sklavos have devised a succession of spectacular dance numbers which dazzle the eye.

It’s all great fun, but beneath its surface razzle dazzle this musical has some thought-provoking messages about tolerance, which in this production are delivered with admirable subtlety.


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