THE roar of 1500 thrilled theatre lovers celebrating their return was a joy to behold.

The sublime cast of the superb Hairspray received a rapturous standing ovation as they launched into the joyful finale of this feel good show, the upbeat anthem You Can't Stop The Beat.

It's the first time I've seen dancing in the aisles in a long time and it was an emotional moment.

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Hairspray is the first show to tour to Mayflower Theatre since social distancing was scrapped and the opening night crowd was in the mood to party from curtain up.

There is no doubt the actors had also missed the thrill of live performance, constantly impressing during an energetic Monday night performance.

Daily Echo:

Set in 1960s Baltimore, Hairspray follows the story of Tracy Turnblad, a generous-figured girl with a big heart and even bigger hair whose unlikely stardom enables her to join the fight against segregation.

She uses her newfound fame on dance party TV programme The Corny Collins Show to fight racism and win the heart of teen idol Link Larkin (a rather smooth Ross Clifton).

Katie Brace impressed in the all-singing all dancing role of Tracy and there was genuine affection from the audience for her delightfully outlandish parents. Alex Bourne (Edna Turnblad) and Norman Pace (Wilbur Turnblad) made a bonkers but beautiful couple and their duet to (You're) Timeless to Me was clever and laugh out loud funny.

Daily Echo:

X Factor star Brenda Edwards was a complete knockout as Motormouth Maybelle, particularly during her stunning solo I Know Where I've Been.

There was brilliant choreography, colourful costumes from the era and a giant screen displaying retro footage as a backdrop.

With witty one liners aplenty, this high energy feel good winner of a show is just the tonic we all need right now.

Hairspray runs until Saturday.

Tickets: 023 8071 1811 or