DarlingtonOS Hairspray: Darlington Civic Theatre

THE town's Operatic Society goes from strength to strength, with so many members keen to perform that in this production most of the principal roles are played by two people at alternate performances.

Hairspray is set in 1960s Baltimore where racial segregation is the norm and the TV teenage dance show has “Negro Day” once a month, when black boys and girls are allowed to dance for the cameras with no white kids present.

Loading article content

Our heroine Tracy Turnblad, is a victim of a different kind of prejudice based on her chubby figure. Tracy loves to dance and through sheer force of personality and dance tips from a friend who is black, secures a place on the “white” version of the TV show. She sets out to put an end to the segregation, changing lives along the way.

As always, the hard work and enthusiasm DOS puts into everything pays off; the choreography is well-drilled and attractive with colourful full-skirted shirt-waist dresses swirling, and the singing for the most part is excellent although the songs aren’t all as memorable as I Can Hear the Bells and the rip roaring finale, You Can’t Stop the Beat.

Ben Connor is outstanding as heart-throb Link, using mannerisms from Elvis and John Travolta to create a vain but likeable character, one of the few played by the same person throughout. His confidence is growing with every passing year, an asset to the Society.

Hairspray is loud, bouncy and very enjoyable, another winner for Darlington Operatic Society.

* Runs until Saturday (May 2). Box Office: 01325-244659 or darlingtonos.org.uk

Sue Heath