“Welcome to the 60s Melbourne” where the hair is big, the tunes are pumping, there’s a feel good energy and anything can happen. 

Beloved on the screen & the stage this production of the original Broadway musical doesn’t disappoint. Telling the story of teen Tracy Turnblad living an ordinary life in Baltimore, 1962. Her Mum, Edna, is a big woman whose youthful ambitions have gone nowhere, while Dad Wilbur owns a joke shop. Tracy dreams of being on the Corny Collins Show, a popular TV program on which nice white kids dance and sing – except once a month when it’s ‘negro day’. Despite producer Velma Von Tussle’s opposition, plus-sized Tracy joins the show through luck, force of will and the cool moves she learns from some African-American students at her highschool. She lives her dream – including getting romantic with the show’s hottie – while fighting for racial integration, and takes her Mum and best friend Penny along for the ride. 

The set celebrates mid-century TV with an American Bandstand-inspired studio and lots of cartoon styling. It’s achieved with amazing simplicity: mostly two-dimensional elements, jazzed up by strong lighting and patterned projections, and by costumes rich with often clashing colours and eye-popping patterns. From seamlessly switched sets to flawlessly done choreography, everything runs like clockwork, leaving you craving more of its infectious feel good energy.

Shane Jacobson absolutely nails the role of Edna bringing massive amounts of talent to the stage. And if I might add, it wouldn’t be an easy task for a male wearing the large wigs, costumes & heels that is required of Edna. Todd Mckenney complements Shane’s Edna perfectly. Their duet ‘You’re timeless to me’ is awe inspiring and a highlight of the show. Rob Mills adds just the right amount of over the top cheesiness as tv host Corny Collins and I’ll add truly shines up on stage. And let’s not forget making her professional musical theatre debut is Carmel Rodrigues as Tracy, a role she was clearly born to play… energetic, funny, top vocals. A perfect Tracy if you ask me. Other highlights include Javon King as seaweed and Asabi Goodman as motormouth Maybelle. 

Without a doubt, this show will have you smiling from ear to ear – it’s joyful, uplifting and even if you don’t already know the tunes, you’ll be singing and dancing along by the time the final curtain comes down. For tickets and more information visit hairspraymusical.com.au

x Steph

Photos by Jeff Busby

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