She is the small girl with the huge heart (and hair!). For the next few weeks, Tracy Turnblad welcomes Adelaide audiences to the 60s in Matt Byrne Media's new production of Hairspray.
The immense, 60 member cast of Hairspray is led by Michelle Davy, who is a powerhouse of talent. It's clear that Davy is indeed the perfect Tracy Turnblad, with a stunning voice and look to match. She has an uncanny resemblance to Nikki Blonsky, star of the 2007 feature film, but definitely brings her own charm to the role. The other leads were as equally talented. As the gaudy and endearing Edna Turnblad, David Gauci proves why he was cast in the national production. A shared number with onstage husband Wilbur Turnblad (Brendan Cooney) was one of the loveliest moments of the show.
Brady Lloyd, Joshua Penley, Igor Egiraneza and Lisa Simonetti all provided outstanding performances. It is Kat Sachse as Penny Pingleton and Shelley Crooks as Velma Von Tussle who surprise and impress. While they have comparatively little time to shine, both embrace their characters and wow the audience with their vocals and comic ability.
Unfortunately the sometimes timid and unconvincing performances of the supporting cast did not quite meet the strong leads. Despite this, all cast members exuded a sense of enthusiasm from start to finish in what is an enormous show.
Corny Collins (Joshua Penley) and his Council Members set the bar during "Nicest Kids in Town", with a chic, energetic performance. Sadly though, this sense of togetherness and vigour was sometimes lost by the larger ensemble dance and song numbers.
Rodney Hrvatin's twelve piece orchestra was spectacular, but too quiet in parts. Hrvatin produces the best sound from both orchestra and ensemble with his purposeful direction. No one would have noticed the condensed orchestration, as sound quality and texture were hardly sacrificed.
With a slightly altered storyline, the show will be excitingly unfamiliar to even the hard-core fans, but is still as vibrant and enjoyable as ever. It's full of laughs, and while some gags were perhaps a little too easy, the audience responded accordingly. Admittedly, some of the numerous reprises could have been omitted to shorten what is rather a lengthy show. The set has a vibrant presence, the space utilised well by set designer David Gauci. The sound and lighting is also quite excellent.
The cast received a standing ovation for this performance, and should continue to receive many more as Matt Byrne Media excels in this sumptuous production of Hairspray.
Matt Byrne Media presents
Director Matt Byrne
Venue: the Arts Theatre
Dates: July 4 – 14, 2012
Venue: Elizabeth's Shedley Theatre
Dates: July 19 – 28, 2012
Tickets: $30 – $25
Bookings: www.dramatix.com.au | 8262 4906 | 131 246 | 8225 8888