Baltimore came to Haygrove in early February, as a record number of students from all Years performed to packed Hairspray audiences across four evenings. It is testament to the depth of talent at Haygrove that leading cast members could be interchanged, over the evenings, without affecting the quality of the performances. With a multitude of stand-out performances, choosing any would be a challenge. Suffice it to say that hours of hard work and rehearsal paid off in spectacular form!
Haygrove's production swept the audience away to 1960’s Baltimore, a segregated town, where the 50’s are out and change is in the air. It is the story of plus-size heroine, Tracy Turnblad, whose passion for dancing wins her a spot on the local teen-dance TV programme. It also addresses "hot" topics, such as teenage rivalries, stereotyping and race relations, against a backdrop of the "black-white" movement searching for nothing more than equality.
A romantic angle, between Tracy and Link Larkin, allows for the development of powerful messages to be delivered within their developing relationship. And as soon as the curtain was up, the audience could not help but find their feet tapping and hands clapping to perfectly delivered, catchy songs, finely honed by West End star and voice coach, April Anderson and crisply executed dance routines, created by Mrs Malessa and Angela Smith.
A production as accomplished as this could not have been undertaken without the steady hand and keen eye for detail of the show's producer, Mrs Guppy. Her ability to get the very best out of performers was matched only by the wizardry of Mr Jennings and Mrs Hobson, in making the band's outstanding playing merge seamlessly with the stage performance. The eye-catching set, capturing the 1960's with some style, reflected the hard work of a "paint crew" under the direction of Miss Chumbley and Miss Chapman and a construction team led by Mr Featherstone and Mr Walters. With costumes, hair and make-up carefully researched to match the America of the '60's by Mrs Thompson and Chloe Taylor, it was the musical with everything.
Report by Mr Hoare