Arts + Entertainment

Theatre Review: Hairspray at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford

We’re all a bit Tracy Turnblad. We can all be a bit awkward, a bit uncomfortable with ourselves… we can all be dreamers. And perhaps that’s why the musical Hairspray appeals to so many people. It could be the fantastically fun characters, of course. It might be the catchy music. It might be the message that Hairspray sends out – that everyone should just dance together, and enjoy their lives, regardless of skin colour or background or beliefs.


It could be any or all of these things.

Hairspray is a magical experience to watch and be involved in, and the current touring production on at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford takes the essence of that, and ensures that it is not forgotten. You will walk away humming the memorable tunes, and you’ll be itching to try out the moves as you walk away from the theatre.

Our accidental heroine is a wonder to behold. Tracy Turnblad is played with gusto by Rebecca Mendoza who bops and hops around the stage with a joy that is infectious, and if you’re not immediately feeling like her best friend, then you must be watching someone and something else. Tracy is the friend we all want, and by the end of the show she’s the one we’ve all got.


Tracy’s friend, Penny, is a much shyer, much more careful kind of person, so her transformation by the end of the show is perhaps even more exciting than Tracy’s, and between the pair of them we can see a real evolution – and a revolution – of character and soul.

The dancing in this show is, as might be expected in a story revolving around a TV dance programme, spectacular. The way the performers move around the stage is akin to acrobatics, and special mention must go to Layton Williams who plays Seaweed.


Hairspray at the Orchard Theatre is a triumph, and if you want something to end the summer on a high with, this is the show to see. Perfect for all ages, adults and children will all find something to enjoy, Hairspray will leave you with a smile and a foot that just won’t stop tapping.


Hairspray is at the Orchard Theatre until 9th September. Tickets can be purchased here.

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