It’s been a pretty big year for the live musicals being shown in America and they eventually somehow manage to make their way to the UK. Grease Live appeared on Netflix but Hairspray Live was actually broadcast on ITV4 so a perfect opportunity to record and then be able to catch up with. In the UK we have had our own when they did a production of The Sound of Music last year. Something does feel quite strange about them when they are done kinda half like a film and half like an actual stage show. It must be a very strange experience to be part of.
I have not seen Hairspray on stage but I am looking to get tickets sorted for the UK tour next year, watching this really made me think that it is a show I would love to see. The reasons for that? Well, because it really does have some truly fantastic songs that are inspiring with a lot of meaning as well as catchy making you want to sing-a-long. Maybe it does just show that sometimes the older ones are the better ones. I actually did have quite an obsession with the film version a few years ago, as before that didn’t really know much about the show.
I thought the casting was all pretty spot on and impressive. Brilliant to see Harvey Fierstein as Edna he really made me smile in each scene he was in, fantastic performance. Kristin Chenoweth and Jennifer Hudson were also both perfect in their roles really bringing it all, showing off amazing vocals as well as acting ability. Maddie Baillio in her first role really did steal it all though what a fantastic young talent, with an incredible voice. I really was very impressed with her, I guess it is even more impressive that it was her first ever job in show business! Certainly a one to watch and see what she goes on to do next.
The thing with Hairspray is that the story has plenty of important messages that are still ever so relevant to this day. About race and body image, feeling good about yourself and being happy to mix with others. Maybe some parts aren’t as extreme right now but I think it does have something good to say. Which you may not expect if you read the titles of the songs, but believe be you need to see this and give it a chance.
Although at times it does make you wonder if it would not be easier just broadcasting a live show from the stage from Broadway or the West End? I mean I know that is being done more with plays at the cinema now, why not do something like that for TV? Gypsy was shown last year in the UK and has since been released on DVD. Surely that would help improve attendances at the Theatre, give people a real look into what they can expect if they have never really been before.
I do still like these shows though as are a bold idea which must be even more stressful than actually theatre, due to having to move from different sets and cutting to the correct scene, ensuring the sound is spot on. But hey I like things that try something a little bit different and I think this is the best one I have seen yet.