Cinema - Hairspray

John Travolta's decision to drag-up for the part of Edna Turnblad in the 2007 filmic remake of John Water’s 1988 hit movie, Hairspray is the latest, more bizarre turn in his unexpectedly enduring career rebirth. After a fifteen year run of flops, Travolta first found life after Grease in the guise of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction. Hairspray is his first return to the musical genre albeit in a parody of the site of his original success - a camped-up, beehive-populated story of the power of youth culture in an age of repression. Except that this version isn’t actually that camp. Director Leslie Dixon was reportedly expressly asked to ‘take down some of the campiness’, which for a story which is about liberation - sexual as much as racial - is a form of censorship which is ironic, if not to say depressing. And mainstream hetero Travolta’s assumption of the role originally played by John Water’s friend and muse - the notorious transvestite Divine - seems like a further straightening out of the sexual politics which originally inspired it. However newcomer Nikki Blonsky makes a much celebrated screen debut here as Tracy - originally played by Ricki Lake - the chubby teenage dance enthusiast who successfully overcomes traditional beauty standards to win a place on her beloved Corny Collins show. Similarly Michele Pffeifer is resurrected from a five-year screen absence to play the role of racist station manager Velma to notable critical acclaim. Overall though, as with so many film remakes, it rather begs the question - if it ain’t broke why fix it? ER

Bad hair day? If it ain’t broke, why fix it

All Saints Centre
When? Sat 6pm, Sun 6pm
How Much? £5
(t) 01903 523833
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