- Reviewed by: Avril Carruthers
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Current Rating 9.75/10 | 4 Votes
Choreographed by Adam Shankman
Produced by Craig Zadan, Neil Meron
Music by Marc Shaiman, Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Cast: John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Amanda Bynes, James Marsden, Queen Latifah, Brittany Snow, Zac Efron, Elijah Kelley, Allison Janney, Jerry Stiller, Paul Dooley, Nikki Blonsky.
A blast of fun, retro music and dance and even more retro attitudes and fashions, Hairspray is based on John Waters’ 1988 film and the Broadway musical of 2002. It’s a musical comedy of vaudevillian mould complete with dame and villain. A brilliant John Travolta makes his musical comeback as Edna Turnblad, larger than life momma of the teenage heroine, Tracy (radiant newcomer Nikki Blonsky), along with broad-stroke comedy and the genre’s requisite one-dimensional, black-and-white characters. It’s appropriate too for a theme of racial integration set in the 60s, where big hair required not so much hairspray as shellac, reflecting rigid societal codes. Making it relevant for all time is the story of young
Michelle Pfeiffer stars hilariously as the evil racist Velma von Tussle, an ex-beauty queen who runs the TV station. Velma’s machinations to keep segregation – in the once weekly ‘Negro Day’ – are matched by her manipulating audience votes to keep her daughter Amber (Brittany Snow) as favourite. Her opposite number is the magnificent Queen Latifah as Motormouth Maybelle, mother of Seaweed (Elijah Kelley) and Inez (Taylor Parks) and completing the mother-daughter relationship theme is Allison Janney as the repressive Prudy Pingleton, mother of
Music and dance as a universal and inclusive language leading to social and personal change is a superb theme for a musical. This one takes stereotypes to a melodramatic extreme and explodes them, while turning the uncool into raging hot.
© Avril Carruthers 1st September 2007
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