Saturday, May 23, 2009


at the Civic, Chelmsford


You'll have to take my word for it, but I'm writing this with a little pink pencil. Part of the goody bag for the Hairspray singalong. We also had cards, a scrap of sequinned fabric, also pink, and a party popper for the big climax.

It was very much a girls' afternoon out. Ladies of all ages booed, cheered, danced and sang to the film of the musical of the 1988 film, encouraged by a pink beehived hostess, who dished out prizes to the best dressed [and a can of Ultra Clutch to the hairdo of the day]. Many of us had seen the film, or possibly Michael Ball live, more than once. “Are you experts,” she wondered, “Or really sad people ?”. She took us through our paces for Nicest Kids, Welcome To The Sixties, I Can Hear The Bells, Good Morning Baltimore, and of course Can't Stop The Beat. “Be in the moment with them,” she urged.

This bizarre blend of naughty nostalgia, gentle satire and saccharine social comment has fewer costume opportunities than Sound of Music or Rocky Horror, but the preteens and the grannies were happy to march and cheer for freedom with Tracy, Penny, Link and the rest, and still had breath to sing to the birthday girls in the audience.

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