If you are looking for something to brighten this drizzly weekend, you couldn’t get much better than a trip to the Dormston Mill Theatre for WBOSY’s production of Hairspray.
This award-winning musical is always a firm favourite with audiences on both the professional and amateur circuit and it is packed full of toe-tapping numbers (Good Morning Baltimore, Welcome To The Sixties, You Can’t Stop The Beat), larger than life characters and a cracking storyline of overcoming adversity.
The talented youth company have really created a show to be proud of. From start to finish the audience are treated to impressive dance routines, spectacular costumes and a whole host of excellent performances. Furthermore, from the principal performers to the youngest chorus member, there is excellent characterisation in a production which does not shy away from the serious themes of racism, body image and bullying inherent in the story – the whole production team are to be commended for their thoughtful staging and choreography in this respect.
There are excellent performances across the whole company, with members of the Dance Council and Mr Pinky’s Crew really standing out for their excellent energy and dance ability. We certainly spotted a number of younger cast members who will no doubt be taking on lead roles with the company in the future.
Leading the cast, Jessica Harrison gives a polished, professional ‘triple-threat’ performance as Tracy Turnblad and her performance blended beautifully with Joe Simmons’ stylish but sensitive Link Larkin and the hilarious Arabella Yardley as Penny Pingleton, who practically steals the show whenever she is on stage. Tia Mcdonald is the perfect Amber Von Tussle, full of attitude and scathing looks while displaying some excellent song and dance skills. Nevaeh Leveridge handles Motormouth’s tricky showstopping number with ease, making it a real stand out moment in the show and despite a few diction issues Thomas Rantell and Finn Smith make a pleasant double act as Edna and Wilbur.
In fact, if I had to pick up on any points for improvement for future shows it would be to work on the diction to achieve clear delivery of the script, as there were some very inaudible moments. This was not helped by an imbalance in sound levels between the very loud band and the far too quiet microphones, which a number of audience members commented on at the interval. It is a shame to see people working really hard on stage but not being able to hear them in the auditorium.
These minor points aside, WBOSY have once again lived up to their reputation for excellence . Grab your dancing shoes and join them for their final performances this weekend.
Final performances on Saturday 10 November
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