Aylesbury's Waterside Theatre enjoys triumphant return with first show for 18 months

It was an event 539 days in the making and it was worth the wait

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 11:54 am

As the old saying goes 'the show must go on'. And on Monday night (6 September), a live performance was held at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre in front of a packed and captivated crowd, for the first time in over 18 long months.

Audiences were treated to the latest Hairspray production, with the UK tour group earning a standing ovation from a packed crowd.

After the most testing year-and-a-half imaginable, filled with lockdowns and multiple government-enforced restrictions, theatre is well and truly back in Aylesbury.

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Hairspray UK Tour

There were limbs flying all over the place in the crowd, as hundreds got up to dance during the curtain call.

Among the many punters enjoying a show that was 539 days in the making, was Aylesbury Mayor Anders Christensen. He told the Bucks Herald: "It was great to be back at the Waterside Theatre and what a way to come back. The energy in the theatre from both the cast and audience made it a very special night.

"It was a fantastic show and I left grinning from ear-to-ear."

Hairspray provided the ideal production for returning crowds, in the same way many clinged to Ted Lasso during lockdown, the musical overwhelms with unrelenting, authentic positivity.

Mayor of Aylesbury Councillor Anders Christensen in attendance

Making it exactly the kind of heart-warmer people need after the unique challenges of surviving a worldwide virus.

The story of a teenage girl who doesn't know better than to conform to social conventions or racist 1960s rulings, who just wants everyone to dance together. Offers the perfect metaphor for people who have spent the past unable to participate in the things they enjoy the most, albeit for good reason.

If Katie Brace's Tracy is able to persevere and, sing and dance, ignoring the invisible and at times physical, barriers others put to infront of her.

Maybe things will once again, go back to some version of 'normal' by 2022.

Hairspray at Waterside Theatre

The setlist is also filled with blues belters, it is almost impossible not to move along to in some way.

The cast included a mix of proven musical and comedic talent with former X-Factor contestant Brenda Edwards and the extremely accomplished Norman Pace.

Being complemented by newcomers and upcoming talent such as Brace in the lead role and the effervescent Jessica Croll in support.

It was the old guard who stole the show, Pace and seasoned theatre performer, Alex Bourne, delighted as Wilbur and Edna Turnblad.

The two's chemistry was so electric in such a slapstick manner, they had the Waterside crowd in stitches.

The whole ensemble was impressive, when the arts industry was forced to close, it is easy to forget just how physically exhausting and precise dancing is, when done by the pros.

For the most part the American accents were on point at least to the Bucks Herald's untrained ear.

Waterside Theatre has a slew of shows planned throughout the remainder of 2021.

People will also be able to attend: live music shows, comedy performances, and much more, plus pantomime season isn't a million miles away either.

Monday was a reminder the theatre can act as a well-needed form of escapism, but also an equally vital form of communal celebration.