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Hairspray is one of those shows that requires total commitment from the cast, as it is full on high octane energy from the start, and DAOS certainly gave us that.  Such intense enthusiasm from the whole cast, which was great to see.

Alistair Brown always makes good directorial decisions, and whilst Hairspray is pretty straightforward, there were a few twists that added interest.

The set worked well, and because of being able to use the facilities of the stage to the full, everything ran seamlessly with no long scene changes – which was good.  The stage crew under the auspices of Katy Elliott and with the help of the cast got the scenery on and off with speed and accuracy.

The lighting was superb – fantastic effects, which can be used to really enhance a production, and which Dave Houghton is a master at, with his assistant Tom Young and a good team of technicians.  

Sound was mostly good – there were a couple of late mic cues, but the sound balance was fine.

The costumes were good overall – colourful with great attention to detail – hair, shoes etc, as were the wigs were good – they helped create the right feel.

Beth Thomas had a super band which I thoroughly enjoyed listening to, with the addition of the Pit Choir, who really gave the sound a boost.

I loved the choreography – Ashley has a good take on what suits the music without it being too run of the mill or samey.  Always something different and interesting.  I particularly liked the choreography in the ‘Bells’ number.

It was nice to see so many new members – all of whom added to the undoubted talents of the core DAOS members.

The Dynamites, Melissa Norwood, Taylar Charles and Sarah Nasmyth-Miller created a very good trio both singing and acting.

The Council Members and other chorus members all got good characters, I particularly liked Alex Wheeler as IQ – he has a good feel for comedy, and created a good geek! – whilst Terry Hooper and Ashley Mead really upped the ante with their dancing skills.  The girls of the Council all gave their parts energy and looked as if they were enjoying what they did.  An excellent ensemble.

Lucy O’Hare gave a great performance as Tracy – she gave the part a touching naivety that was so real and believable, with some lovely musical touches.  A lovely part for her and one which she was able to give depth to and total attention to detail.

James Halling as Link Larkin is a good all round performer, and this part really suited him – he shone in his solo, I enjoyed his performance.

Damien Winchester gave us a super Seaweed – he danced it well, and that voice ..... loved it!  Damien always gives so much to both the role and his fellow performers, this part suited him well.  

The biggest surprise of the evening for me was Motormouth, played by Rachel Parkins, I knew she could perform, but didn’t know she had such a powerful voice – which is what that part needs – a great portrayal.

Kirsty Day gave us a well-studied characterisation of the awkward Penny, who is transformed into a lovely girl – again a very good performance.

Paul Ramsey and Chris Young as Edna and Wilbur Turnblad, both gave good performances, and their relationship was tangible – particularly in their duet – creating a real loving couple!!!  Chris got the character of the slightly head-in–the-clouds Wilbur well, the magic tricks worked a treat.

Paul created a good character, and his voice showed up well when he was able to give it full rein, he really came into his own in the finale!! – his and Tracy’s finale costumes were stunning.

Lisa Abella as the nasty Velma Von Tussle and Katie Ross as her daughter Amber, also created a good relationship. They gave the necessary slightly evil dimension for the production, against the other nicer characters.  Well done to you both.

I liked Simon Rollings as Corny Collins – just the right amount of authority and understanding towards the kids against Velma.  A good part for Simon, nicely played.

Young Inez was charmingly created by Kes Browne, with some telling lines well delivered.

Annalise Carter-Brown gave her three parts very different characterisations, showing real authority, and John O’Leary also created three good characters, which he accomplished well.

So, a super production that I thoroughly enjoyed, and which was well-performed with loads of energy and enthusiasm from the whole cast – a huge well done to you all.

Dunstable Amatuer Operatic Society

HAIRSPRAY” review date: 16th May 2014

Little Theatre, Dunstable

Director: Alistair Brown   MD: Beth Thomas Choreographer: Ashley Mead


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