City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Hairspray Review

By Gordon Clayton - Posted on 25 August 2010

Show details
Royal High Productions
Running time: 
Mark Conway (director), Vivienne Snedden (director), Suzanne Stewart (musical director), Carol-Anne Foote (choreographer)
Kat Croan (Tracy Turnblad), Cameron Henderson (Mrs.Turnblad), Kenneth Brown (Link Larkin)

Big hair, big sounds, and a big cast with some really big performances from the students and recent school leavers of Edinburgh’s Royal High School. For the second year running a trip to the edges of the Fringe was rewarded by a good all round performance by talented young people ably directed and supported by first class staging, lighting and sound.

Hairspray is one of the most commercial musicals on the Fringe and is one of the longest on offer. The glossy programme on sale at the door was an early indication that this show was produced to a standard that other companies could learn from.

While the show has comedy and upbeat sixties music, the show deals with two serious themes - our heroine Trudy is a big girl and the prejudice that meets her from the people running the media is a barrier to her getting on TV.

The other theme is racism and the audience are reminded that as recent as fifty years ago there were barriers to black people being fully integrated into society in parts of the U.S.A.  The show is about how Trudy and her friends work towards personal success and overcome prejudice based on size and skin colour.

The show has a large number of characters and the audience has to work quite hard to remember who everyone is and how they relate to each other.

There are three performers that did exceptionally well: Kat Croan as the main character has a great voice and from the prologue of ‘Good Morning Baltimore’ gives the part her all whether singing, dancing or acting. Perhaps making her appear a bit bigger would have been justified but that’s a minor quibble.

Sophie Irvine, as the best friend, also has a great voice and while not a huge part she carries it off  to perfection.

The other five star performance was from Chantelle Hoyle as Motormouth Maybelle. In a predominantly female cast, tradition is that ‘Trudy’s’ mother is played by a man. Cameron Henderson has stepped up to the plate and carries the part with good stage presence and comic timing.

Other males who do really well include Kenneth Brown, Dean Bottomley, Harrison McNeill and Stu Brown. The two Sarahs, Dingwall and Stein have the ‘nasty’ parts but carry them really well.

It’s not possible to name all the principals but Shea Moran-Davidson, Kaitlin Pietersen and Anicee Landao also make telling contributions. Put together a well drilled ensemble a great supporting band and a feel-good ending and you have a great night of musical theatre.

Show Times
Runs to 28 August, 7pm

Ticket Prices