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The Nicest Kids in Town

26 March 2010

After months upon months of rehearsing, including a cast trip to the West End, the joint KES/KEHS production of the musical Hairspray crashed onto the stage of Big School in February. Tickets for the five performances went on sale shortly before Christmas, and had sold out by the middle of January.

Performing a show in which half of the characters are of African Caribbean descent obviously posed problems, but the directing team of Hannah Proops and Matthew Bartlett came up with an ingenious and appropriate solution: Responding to a script which often referred to the Black company as \'Coloured\', they decided to segregate Baltimore into the \'Black and White\' majority and the \'Coloured\' minority, distinguishing between the two using different costume colours.

The audiences were treated to a feast of colour (and black and white) in which energy, music, and dance, took centre stage.  Set in Baltimore in 1962, Hairspray tells the story of Tracy Turnblad (Rosalind Urquhart), a big girl with big dreams, who desperately wants to join her teen idols on the all-singing, all-dancing George Hims...er...\"Corny Collins Show\". But as she danced her way to pop-tastic super stardom, her realisation of the inequalities of racial segregation threatened her happiness, her future career and her hopes of getting to first base with heart-throb Link Larkin, played outstandingly by the previously undiscovered talent, Tom Anderson.

Sam Newton also deserves mention for his fittingly cool performance as Tracy\'s friend, Seaweed Stubbs. Stealing the show however, were the stalwarts of KES drama: Finn Milton and Christopher Bland. Finn\'s portrayal of Tracy\'s eccentric father, and Christopher\'s worryingly realistic interpretation of a concerned mother had sides splitting throughout the audience, who were then reduced to hysterics by their duet \"Timeless\".

But it wasn\'t just a show about the principals, and congratulations and thanks must also go to the chorus, stage crew, lighting, sound, the Band, Mr Monks, Mr. Bartlett and Miss Proops for putting on such a superb performance.

Click here to view the gallery of photos from Hairspray.