HAIRSPRAY

Date 24th January 2015
Society Ballywillan Drama Group
Venue Riverside Theatre, Coleraine
Director Brian Logan - assisted by Alan McClarty
Musical Director Eric Boyd - assisted by Andrew Robinson
Choreographer Sharon Logan - assisted by Victoria Lagan

Report

Author: Sheelagh Hobart

Hairspray is undoubtedly one of the best modern musicals for amateur production. With a cast of 75, the set was necessarily simple – raised areas with different opening flaps stage left and right and cyc for projection. Costumes were colourful and authentically 60’s as were hairstyles.

 Megan Cunning as Tracy Turnblad sang well and, with Louise McClarty as Penny Pingleton became typical teenagers, displaying excitement and enthusiasm for their favourite TV show and its young stars. All these were convincing participants headed by Link Larkin (David Mullan) who made an appealing teenage idol. David had a pleasant singing voice as did Warren McCook (Corny Collins), a typical TV host under the thumb of Show Director Velma Von-Tussle. Played by Maxine McAleenan, she was determined to push daughter Amber (Laura Fisher) into the limelight. These two made an effective duo.

The young group of black friends meeting at Maybelle’s Record Shop were a lively bunch, under the wing of Helen Wilkinson as Motormouth Maybelle and her children Seaweed (Adam Goudy) and Little Inez (Jasmine Gardiner). Adam was a dynamic young man with excellent vocals while Helen’s great jazz voice made her musical numbers unforgettable. All smaller roles added individual entertaining cameos. Chorus and Dancing Ensembles were well drilled and singing was uplifting.

Many laughs were provided by Tracy’s parents Wilbur and Edna (Richard Mairs and Alan McClarty). Their relationship was thoroughly believable and “Timeless to Me” had the audience in stitches - hard to remember that Edna was a man!

Eric Boyd’s “Big Band”, placed at the back of the stage, were costumed and integrated into the show without being intrusive. Director Brian tackled this large-scale production expertly - he and Choreographer Sharon moved the huge cast with energy and precision.