Review - Hairspray at Youth Theatre in Market Harborough

Some of the cast of Hairspray
Some of the cast of Hairspray

I have seen Hairspray four times before, always performed with an all white cast playing the African-Americans in the story.

They used no makeup, as 'blacking up' is considered un-PC in today’s world. I never understood until I saw The Youth Theatre’s performance that Hairspray is about integration in 1960s USA. and, despite the youth of the actors, they really inhabited their characters, and I could suspend disbelief, ignore gender and colour and enjoy the show.

The singing and dancing were of a very high quality, and the energy displayed by the whole cast was amazing. Rachel Russell was an excellent Tracey, as were her parents, James West as Wilbur and the incredible Gareth Bradwick, who took on Edna, as is traditional, and made her believable. Their duet was one of the funniest parts of the show.

There was a lot to laugh at and I do not know how I previously missed the many topical, (for 1962), jokes!

All the principals sang and danced up a storm and were ably supported by the cute little Youth Theatre children, training to be as good as the older ones. The finale just blew my socks off, one of the best I’ve seen from the Youth Theatre, which is really saying something.

Fantastic talent on display and a fun performance. Congratulations to you all.

Performances of Hairspray take place tonight (Thursday), Friday and Saturday. Tickets, priced from £6.50, are available from Synergy Dancewear on St Mary's Road, online from or on the door subject to availability.