BOSSY at Brentwood Theatre
A happy, homespun Hairspray from BOSSY, in fine Sixties style, musically and wardrobe-wise.
Gaynor Wilson's production keeps the setting simple – a nice vertical bed for Tracy's awakening – while Andy Prideaux's quartet sets the musical pace, with a prominent role for that essential sax. Some impressive ensemble numbers: the mother and daughter sextet, the Council members in the title number, the joyous Can't Stop the Beat finale.
And plenty of punchy performances from an energetic cast – I saw the Thursday company. An immensely likeable Tracy from Tia Stack, pint-sized rabble rouser and would-be teenage Jezebel. She has the character to perfection, and brings energy and elan to all her numbers. Michael Percival is her mother, feisty and voluminously dressed, with Adam Ellis as her dad, the extrovert joke store manager, and Dan Pugh as her love interest, the heart-throb Link Larkin. The bigoted baddies include Ellie Lovelace's Velma – a magnetic stage presence – and her daughter Amber [Grace Frost]. A lovely, gawky Penny Pingleton from Cloe Lee, and a great glib Corny from Joe Folley.
Jeremy Lawal-Champion impresses as Seaweed, son of Motormouth Maybelle, nicely done by Tomi Bello, especially in her act two anthem, and her “big, blonde and beautiful” act one finale.
Lots of fine character work in the cast, including doubles from Will Loader as Mr Pinky and Brad, and Owen Jackson as the penitentiary official and Mr Spritzer, President of Ultra Clutch, proud sponsor of the Corny Collins TV show.