Good turnout for ‘Hairspray’ premiere
By Leiselle Maraj Saturday, June 30 2012
Technical problems and opening night jitters may have been the cause of a less than stellar performance of the popular musical Hairspray which is currently underway at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s. The local adaptation of the acclaimed Broadway musical opened to a large audience on Thursday night.
Must Come See Productions’ eighth theatrical production explores the racial divide in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States before the Civil Rights movement. According to the play’s introduction, “the musical is much about the triumph of spirit and is a timely reminder that one determined person can galvanise others to triumph over the forces of institutionalised separation – wherever and whenever, it happens.”
The message was delivered thanks to the bubbly portrayal of the main character, chubby teenager “Tracy Turnblad” by Adafih Padmore. Together with her co-star Kearn Samuel who played Tracy’s love interest, “Link Larkin”, the theme of love and relationships was admirably portrayed. What hampered the production was the fact there were not enough personal microphones for characters, leaving many to say their lines with just the help of the microphones on stage. Also some of the personal mics did not pick up the character’s voice at some points. Audience members were therefore unable to hear some of the lines of the play.
Given that the play was set in Baltimore, American accents may have been necessary. Some characters could have spent more time perfecting their accents. Most of them came off as false and some characters lost their accents during several scenes of the play. In this regard, “Motormouth Maybelle”, played by Kimberley Jones, was probably the only character who seemed authentic on stage. She probably had the most powerful voice on stage as most of the other musical numbers were drowned out by the orchestra and back-up singers.
Anton Brewster who played “Corny Collins” gave another commendable performance, providing comic relief with his antics and timing.
Pretending to be a woman could not have been an easy feat so Keegan Miguel should get mentioned for his role as “Edna Turnbald”.
But the venom and passion of “Velma Von Tussle” could not have been more ably portrayed by Debra-Boucaud Mason, veteran stage and television actress who admitted this was her first major musical.
Getting the point of racial divide across could have been difficult for this cast but the clever inclusion of blonde wigs help the audience get lost in the storyline and themes rather than detract from it.
This production of Must Come See may not be their best but it is still a commendable effort.