HAIRSPRAY, THE ULTIMATE FEEL GOOD SHOW RETURNS TO MK
Matthew Rixon will join the cast of the UK tour of Hairspray as Edna Turnblad, Matthew’s first performance will on 15 March 2016 at New Victoria Theatre, Woking. Matthew’s recent theatre credits include The Producers (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Royal Shakespeare Company), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium), Cinderella (Richmond Theatre), Casa Valentina (Southwark Playhouse), The Ladykillers (New Vic Theatre & UK Tour), Around The World in 80 Days (New Vic & Royal Exchange Theatre), Aladdin (Wimbledon Theatre), See How They Run (York Theatre Royal), The Legend of King Arthur (York Theatre Royal), Aladdin (Theatre at the O2 Arena) and The Governess (UK Tour).
Matthew joins TV and stage actress and presenter Claire Sweeney (Educating Rita, Guys and Dolls) as Velma Von Tussle, Olivier Award nominated actor and much-loved Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan (BBC1 Tumble) as Wilbur Turnblad and British singer and West End performer Brenda Edwards (Chicago, We Will Rock You, The X Factor) as Motormouth Maybelle.
Freya Sutton will continue in her role of Tracy Turnblad alongside established musical theatre performer Jon Tsouras (A Chorus Line) as Corny Collins.
It’s Baltimore 1962, where Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV. Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heartthrob Link Larkin along the way.
Hairspray is a musical based on the 1988 film of the same name which starred Divine and Ricki Lake by cult filmmaker John Waters. With music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and book by Mark O’Donnell & Thomas Meehan, Hairspray originally opened to rave reviews on Broadway in 2002 and subsequently won eight Tony Awards. The production opened in London at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2007 and won four Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Musical. Following the musical’s phenomenal success on stage, a film of the musical was released in 2007 which starred John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer and James Marsden.
Please Note: You’ll find lots more information about the tour of Hairspray if you go to: http://www.hairsprayuktour.com
Hairspray is at Milton Keynes Theatre from 4th – 9th April (Matinees on Wednesday & Saturday)
Box Office: 0844 871 7652 or online: atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes
I managed to get to the opening night at Milton Keynes Theatre of this wonderful production of Hairspray. Taking a musical of this scale onto the road must present enormous logistical problems, yet scenery is flown in and out so unobtrusively that you really don’t notice until you find yourself in another scene.
Along with the great music and fabulous choreography in this show, there is a very strong message of “Integration not segregation” especially as far as racism & sizeism (if there is such a word) are concerned. A very strong cast led by Claire Sweeney at her funniest as Velma Von Tussle, Matt Rixon a wonderful Edna Turnblad and Peter Duncan as her husband Wilbur. Freya Sutton returns to her role as Tracy Turnblad carrying the audience along with her teenage problems of image and love – and often both at the same time! The choreography is terrific, Drew McOnie managed to show a marked difference in styles of the white TV dancers and the “once a month only” black kids. I would love to have seen a little more evidence of the dreaded hair spray aerosols that those of us of a certain age still have nightmares over!
Special mention must go to Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle who lit up the entire theatre every time she appeared on stage as the kindly “Mama figure” to all the kids from the ghetto. Not just her personality, but her wonderful and powerful voice earned her huge applause after each of her two solo numbers.
I was also pleased to notice several members of the ensemble had their original training at the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.
They call this the ultimate feel-good musical and that’s exactly what you do feel on the way out from this production! The entire audience on the Monday night was on its feet long before the spectacular finale was over.
Rush and get tickets now!