For me, the bane of musical theatre is usually the music. It can be loud and so obnoxious and cheesy. It’s often overwhelming, and the end of each song usually finds me spasming more than Michael J Fox, or Britney’s kids after drinking a glass of her Southern sweet tea.
Hairspray was an exception: even though there were the expected cornball musical numbers, the charismatic delivery by the talented cast made them fun versus nauseating. Jay Brazeau’s performance as Edna Turnblad was flawlessly executed to ultimate hilarity. In fact, all the casting was perfect. (I could even look beyond an Asian girl playing a black girl – this is Vancouver, after all.) Jenny Neumann, who played Tracy Turnblad, didn’t miss a beat, and her spunky sidekick, Penny, had me in stitches more than once.
I took my friend, and before we left, I told him how I hoped it wouldn’t be a total bust. His response was, “How can you mess up Hairspray?” Obviously, he hasn’t seen much musical theatre. Luckily, the show didn’t disappoint and convinced its Vancouver audience that it more than deserved all eight of its Tony Awards.
If you haven’t seen Hairspray yet, its run continues at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until July 10. Tickets are available online.