Hairspray, York Grand Opera House

IS there a more feelgood musical than Hairspray? And is there a more polished, more entertaining presentation than this York Stage Musicals show that’s playing to full houses. This five-star production is Jessica Hardcastle’s debut as director (she also choreographs) for YSM and what an exhilarating show it is – well-cast, well-sung, well-danced, well done.

It’s not often everything comes together like this, but when it does the result makes you wish it would never end. You Can’t Stop The Beat goes one of the songs and with this show I’d be quite happy for the beat to go on and on.

Beneath the bright and breezy exterior, Hairspray has things to say about body image, race, family and, of course, the use of hairspray through the story of Tracy Turnblad (Maya Tether, outstanding), who takes after her mother Edna (Joe Wawrzyniak, playing a mother not a drag act) in the outsize department and takes up the anti-segregation cause much to the horror of bigoted pushy Velma Von Tuss (Toni Feetenby – boo, hiss).

The choreography is dynamic as Tracy decides to use the Corny Collins show to bring the community together, regardless of size or race. The cast doesn’t put a foot wrong with Andy Stone’s joke store owner Wilbur completing the Turnblad family. Jess Gardham ‘s Motormouth Maybelle offers powerful inspiration in her big number, Conor Mellor’s channels Zac Efron as would-be teen idol Link Larkin, Maya Bartley O’Dea’s blossoms as Penny Pingleton, Jemal Felix’s Seaweed offers fine hip-swivelling action… I could go on because there isn’t a weak link in the cast.

* Runs until Saturday (April 4). Box Office: 0844-8713024 and

Steve Pratt