Hairspray (3 stars)

Glasgow Clyde Auditorium, until Sat 8 May


The excitement is palpable even before the curtain rises. Hairspray rushes into Glasgow on a juggernaut of advance excitement thanks to the hugely popular, award-winning Broadway and West End productions and the subsequent film adaptation. The Clyde Auditorium is packed to the rafters with fans in A-line dresses and beehive hairdos, all itching to be transported back to Baltimore in 1962.

Inarguably Hairspray the musical is a sweeter, blander version of the cult classic John Waters film on which it is based. But the gaudy, slick, fast-paced adaptation is like a stick of bubblegum that resolutely refuses to lose its flavour. Songs such as ‘Good Morning Baltimore’, ‘I Can Hear the Bells’, and especially the finale, ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’, are catchy enough to stick in the mind, and the cast invest the set pieces with an irresistible energy. Laurie Scarth makes an appealing heroine as Tracy Turnblad, the overweight teenager who lands a spot on The Corny Collins Show and sets to work overturning its racial segregation policy. Sandra Marvin and Wayne Robinson as Motormouth Maybelle and Seaweed provide the biggest and best voices in the show, while there’s a strangely endearing chemistry between Michael Ball and Les Dennis as Tracy’s larger-than life parents Edna and Wilbur.


A feel-good musical romp through the changing values of the 1960s. Expect fabulous outfits, catchy songs and the requisite towering barnets.


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