Signature Productions’ “Hairspray”
April 11, 2012 at Summerlin Library Performing Arts Center
Signature Production’s Hairspray blew our wigs off with its high production quality and joyful performances.
The cast had terrific energy, talent and passion. Even though many characters were written to be somewhat over-the-top or caricature-ish, the actors in this production played those at just the right level to be believable, likeable and relatable. These subtle choices in acting and direction are to be commended.
The interaction of the actors established solid relationships, drawing the audience in from the first moment.
Singing by every actor was strong and well-articulated. All sang at a professional level.
Direction was superb. Transitions were inventive and clever, and performed smoothly. Use of sets, lighting and script during scene changes made them as engaging as the scenes. Staging was creative and contributed greatly to the storytelling. Placement and movement of each actor had a reason, and furthered the story.
Choreography was pleasingly stylish, sharp, and well-rehearsed. It was not distracting, gratuitously complex or self-aggrandizing; it was well-chosen for the level of dance ability of the cast. The cast performed it cleanly and joyfully. Choreography of sets, such as the jailhouse bars, was witty and interesting. And choreographed special effects using real hairspray –- terrific!
Costumes were richly designed and constructed, authentic in style to the 60’s, eye-catchingly detailed, expressive of each character’s story, and perfectly tailored.
Lighting was judicious and effective in creating the right mood and directing the eye to the action. Sound had no discernible problems, and the performers’ voices sounded natural and clear.
Sets were impressive in size, detail, construction, mobility and variety. Of special note was the huge blue-checkered backdrop early in the show, and the simple jailhouse scene set: the former perfectly symbolized the aesthetic of the 60s and created a ‘groovy’ atmosphere with its rich colors and sophisticated execution; the latter effectively evoked the setting due to its shape, minimalism and starkness.
Casting an actual child in the part of Little Inez is rarely done, but Malia Blunt sang, acted and danced with skill and poise. Her talent and skill are professional-theater level, maybe even Broadway-ready.
This performance belied the label ‘community theater’. In all respects, including staging, costumes, sets, directing, acting and singing, this company and production offered a professional theater-level experience. If a few of these theatrical and production elements were weaker, the show would still have been well-worth attending. But every element was designed and performed with excellence, which made attending it fun and memorable. The production sparkled with professionalism. This show was truly a gem.
Audience: All Ages
Event Rating: A++