Review: Hairspray, The CTC Ipswich, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, until January 2

The Children's Theatre Company Ipswich stage Hairspray at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: MIKE K

The Children's Theatre Company Ipswich stage Hairspray at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK - Credit: Archant

Sometimes, just sometimes, a show is so good that it’s difficult to put together a full, professional review as you simply want to shout from the rooftops: “It’s brilliant! Buy tickets!” Such is the case with this joyous production of Hairspray from The Children’s Theatre Company.

The Children's Theatre Company Ipswich stage Hairspray at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: MIKE K

The Children's Theatre Company Ipswich stage Hairspray at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK - Credit: Archant

Full of the special energy and heart that always comes from youth theatre, this musical also boasted a level of talent and quality of performance that any professional adult company would be proud of, with great vocals, great dancing and great storytelling from all involved.

Full of infectious enthusiasm and personality, Nancy Doubledee sets the standard from the start as the “short and stout” teen Tracy Turnblad who dreams of being a dancer on The Corny Collins Show and winning Miss Teenage Hairspray.

On her journey to love and stardom, Tracy fights for racial integration, empowers her mother, battles a catty love rival and ends up in jail, all without messing up her ‘do’.

From scene one and Good Morning Baltimore, Doubledee’s voice is pitch perfect and she captures the character and passion of Tracy beautifully throughout, especially the mooning over heartthrob Link – played here by the king of cheeky winks, Sam Brown – which is both funny and adorable (and after his bewitching rendition of It Takes Two, perfectly understandable).


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Other stand out performances include the cool and charismatic Thomas Beattie as TV host Corny, the wonderfully quirky Maia Elsey as best-friend Penny, the superior Beth Hurry as Velma and who could forget the deep voice and shapely calves of Ben Kearney as Edna.

Special mention must also be made of the outstanding vocal performance by Vania Lima as Motormouth Maybelle.

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This gifted young woman has a rich, soulful voice that exceeds her years and she knows how to use it as her incredible version of I Know Where I’ve Been proves.

In fact, the entire cast thoroughly deserved the standing ovation on opening night as the show is a joy from start to finish with slick dance numbers, fabulous costumes, great music and boundless energy.

Pure theatre magic and just a little bit naughty - the perfect antidote to those post-Christmas blues.

By Martine Silkstone

Read more: Back to the 60s with CTC Ipswich and hit musical Hairspray at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds

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