31 October 2007
In recent years I have grown to dislike Michael Ball on stage - he's become a favourite pet hate. I loved him in Les Mis but his on-stage persona has grated on me as his career has ballooned. So I was somewhat anxious about seeing the first night of HAIRSPRAY. Thank goodness there had been no sign of Michael Ball as we arrived at the interval. And then as I wandered downstairs I suddenly realised - I had been watching Michael Ball throughout the first half, playing Edna, in drag, wonderfully. What a fabulous performance. Beautifully judged and perfectly delivered. It's so great to be proved wrong!
I had really wanted to see HAIRSPRAY because of its huge success on Broadway but I wonder if this show will become popular in England. It's plot involves racism which feels much more a live American issue than it does here and elsewhere the story feels a bit thin. But it's delivered with full gusto, with fantastic performances from Rachael Wooding and Tracie Bennett.
(Although I do have to say, I think Alison Fitzjohns (from HORRIBLE HISTORIES) should be playing the lead)
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