THIS tale of segregation, music and love, set in 1960s Baltimore, focuses on Tracy Turnblad (Siobhan Branch), a young woman who dreams of appearing on her favourite TV programme, The Corny Collins Show.
Problem is, the show’s producer Velma Von Tussle (Stephanie Webb) views her physique as too rotund, and her views on integration too radical, and attempts to sideline her.
But, helped by her best friend Penny (Hazel Baldwin), her supportive mum (Rob Wilson) and dad (Ian May-Miller), and inspired by Seaweed (Curtis Adams) and his mother Motormouth Maybelle (Natasha Mulvey), Tracy makes it onto Corny’s (Ed Branch) show, where she comes face to face with her idol Link Larkin (Connor McGrane).
Will Tracy overcome the obstacles in her way, including the blonde and beautiful Amber Von Tussle (Laura Whitwell) to get the man of her dreams and properly unite the community of Baltimore in front of the cameras?
The extremely youthful Siobhan very much captures the wide-eyed innocence of the key character of this musical, bouncing around and convincingly shaking her booty to the beat, winning over the audience in the process.
Her on-stage love interest Connor is half her age, which is why their lovers’ kiss is concealed by Carlie Cohen’s sterling work with a fan.
On the night I attended, those present also applauded loudly for tender number You’re Timeless to Me, performed by Rob and Ian, and I Know Where I’ve Been, led by a powerhouse vocal from Natasha, in addition to that irresistible final number You Can’t Stop the Beat.
The young stars of BAOS’s youth strand Limelight play a vital part in this new production, forming a substantial portion of the ensemble, which often appears as a supporting choir behind the main players.
They take some of the leading roles too, notably Hazel and Connor. The former absolutely revels in presenting Penny’s demented innocence and clearly relishes her time on stage.
The Limelighters’ next performance is Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods. Performances will take place in October and rehearsals begin in April. Find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.