THERE'S one song in Altrincham Garrick's production of Hairspray that is so stirring, so moving and so well sung it's worth the ticket money on it's own.
The number in question is I Know Where I've Been, performed with heartfelt passion by Nicole Battick, who plays Motormouth Marybelle, I was very nearly in tears. With a voice as soulful as this, many Trafford musical societies are sure to be clamouring for the vocal services of this very, very talented performer.
The song epitomised the serious story that runs alongside that of Tracy Turnbald, an ordinary girl-next-door who dreams of being famous courtesy of a hilariously superficial teen music show. Hairspray is set in Baltimore in the early 60s and while you're sure to leave the theatre on cloud nine, it also pays tribute to the courage of those involved in the black civil rights movement.
As Tracy, the daughter of a mother with flouted dreams, Olivia Tringham is every inch the unlikely heroine as she battles against catty teenage girls and an education system that, despite her tender years, has dumped her on the scrapheap. You're sure to find yourself willing her to live happily ever after with wannabe pop star Link Larkin, played by the likeable and charismatic Michael Twigg.
Whether he's on the stage or working behind it, director Charlie Tomlinson is consistently brilliant. So too are Andrew Lee as Tracy's pantomime dame of a mother and Ivor Farley as her equally lovable dad, Wilber.
Add an infectious musical score and some laugh out loud jokes and you have the complete musical package. What a way to end your current season, Altrincham Garrick. Congratulations, to you all.
* Until June 11. The box office is on 0161 928 1677. Star rating - *****