"You (Really) Can't Stop the Beat!" Hairspray comes to the Palace Theatre

The feel-good show is on at the Palace until the weekend before returning in November...

By Ben Brown | 27 October 2021

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The song at the end of Hairspray, “You Can’t Stop the Beat” is a VERY hard one to sing. It’s super fast, there’s LOADS of words and as a performer, getting your breathing right whilst also dancing, is one of the most difficult things you can do in musical theatre.

Here, listen to it…

Mad that isn’t it!?

I’d also go so far as to say that this finale number is what most people judge the quality of a production of Hairspray on, and, if I’d seen absolutely nothing in the 2 and a bit hours before this number – I’d know that the current run at the Palace Theatre in Manchester is very impressive indeed.

The show’s cast and ensemble handled it perfectly, and to say that this production is the very first professional thing on her CV, Katie Brace’s turn as Tracy Turnblad is all the more impressive.

She’s aided with seriously impressive singing chops in the form of X-Factor favourite Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle, and Alex Bourne and Norman Pace as Edna and Wilbur Turnblad respectively.

The chemistry and playfulness on show between the two Turnblad parents is fantastic – culminating in the song ‘You’re Timeless To Me’ – where the pair ended up breaking character and giggling throughout – which only seemed to make the whole thing even more impressive if you ask me.

By now you probably know what Hairspray is all about.

Based on the fabulously madcap John Waters film from 1988, starring Divine, Rikki Lake and Debbie Harry no less, the story follows Tracy Turnblad as she becomes a local TV star dancing on The Corny Collins Show, and her quest to break down racial barriers and integrate 1960s Baltimore, whilst also winning the coveted ‘Miss Teenage Hairspray’ Pageant.

The songs are the true lynchpin of this musical, they’re electric, feel-good and very, very catchy – as well as being funny with some often very powerful and serious subject matter.

I should also note that the three cast members playing the Supremes-esque ‘Dynamites’ were phenomenal – elevating the already outstanding number ‘Welcome to the 60s’ into a whole new stratosphere with some serious pipes. Oh, and it was great to see Norman Pace having the time of his life up on stage.

Ultimately, you know exactly what you’re going to get with Hairspray. Big, catchy numbers, excellent choreography and plenty of laughs – it’s essentially the perfect musical and you should probably get some tickets while it’s in town.


Hairspray The Musical is on at the Palace Theatre until Saturday 30th October, and then again from Monday 8th November until to Saturday 13th November.

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