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Review – Hairspray – The Liverpool Empire

HAIRSPRAY The Musical roared into the Liverpool Empire last night (and continues this week), proving that so long away from theatre for many certainly has not stopped the beat.

‘Eat some breakfast and change the world’ is a small line in the show – but what a sentiment make by our idealist heroine Tracey Turnblad, whose mission is to bring racial integration to popular TV dance programme, the Corny Collins Show.

Played by Katie Brace in her professional debut, Tracey holds her space on the stage throughout the show and from the word go the audience were in love with the girl who has a heart bigger than her hair. Congratulation to Katie on an amazing performance.

With equality, body confidence, love and one of the best soundtracks a musical has ever offered, this show has everything – and it’s just what audiences need. A complete joyful experience for two whole hours.

The billed big star was Branda Edwards, who played the glamorous and unapologetic Motormouth Maybelle, whose rendition of ‘I know Where I’ve been’ moved the audience to a well-deserved standing ovation.

The cast worked seamlessly together, with the main couple Edna and Wilbur Turnblad pulling on our heartstrings with their witty and unbreakable partnership.

From ‘Good Morning Baltimore’ to ‘You can’t Stop The Beat’, there wasn’t a single low point. A special shout out must go to the performers of ‘Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now’, which shone for me as the star number.

Triumph by The Empire

And the venue? An intimidatingly long queue backed up outside the theatre ahead of the show as staff checked credentials (online tickets and COVID safe measures). This queue however moved quickly and from what I could see, all bums were on seats for curtain up.

The staff at the Empire Theatre were excellent and made special efforts to ensure everyone felt safe and comfortable. With new ticketing measures and health and safety being at the forefront of many theatre-goer’s conversation, the venue have triumphed in their organisation.

Massive well done to every member of staff. Even underneath the masks, we could tell we were greeted with a smile.

Performance Information

Liverpool Empire Theatre
Monday 30th August – Saturday 4th September 2021
Tickets from £13*
To book call 0844 871 7615* or buy online at
*fees apply to online and telephone bookings

Review by Rebecca Keegan

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