You can’t stop the beat...and you can’t stop Hairspray

To quote Hairspray directly, ‘welcome to the Sixties!’

And welcome to a show that tackles racism head on and leaves the audience on their feet.

Hairspray’s music is unbeliavably catchy, its characters larger than life – but at its heart is a serious message about how standing up for what you believe in can change the world. Freya Sutton as the happy-go-lucky Tracy Turnblad is instantly lovable, belting out the show’s fabulous songs with passion and quirky flair.

Right from the off, the show bounces along, a swirl of bright colours, toe-tapping songs and slick, fun choreography.

Hairspray’s songs are some of the best I’ve heard in a modern musical – and Sandra Marvin’s heart-stopping rendition of I Know Where I’ve Been as Motormouth Maybelle was poignant and powerful.

But the real show-stealer was Mark Benton as Tracy’s mum Edna Turnblad.

His impeccable comic timing was backed up with a lovely singing voice – and while he may have corpsed during Timeless To Me, his duet with on-stage husband Paul Rider, he made the character his own and had the audience in stitches.

It’s impossible to leave Hairspray without a huge grin on your face.

Its melodrama makes the finale even more uplifting, harnessing the power of the civil rights movement of the Sixties and making it groove. Spectacular.