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BBFC RatingHairspray

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GenreComedy, Musical
Director(s)John Waters
Writer(s)John Waters
Running Time1HR 32MINS
SeasonMain Programme

The bigger the hair, the closer to a John Waters character you'll be. It's Baltimore, 1962, and a rebellious “pleasantly plump” teenager, Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake), lands a spot on a popular dance show where she hopes to win the coveted "Miss Auto Show" crown.

Facing numerous obstacles, including those posed by her nemesis, the prejudiced and stuck-up Amber Von Tussle, Tracy uses her newfound celebrity to fight for the issues she believes in, particularly fat liberation, racial justice and integration.

On the surface it might seem like a family-friendly box-office success, but Waters (Pink Flamingos) calls it his ‘Trojan Horse’. Like all of his films, it’s an anti-authoritarian, pro-equality celebration of outsiders, but this one masquerades as a sweet-natured, 60s-set high-school movie.

The film features John Waters regular Divine in a dual role as Tracy’s loving mother and a high-strung TV producer, Jerry Stiller as Tracy’s goofball dad, and appearances by a bevy of weird and wacky stars including Ric Ocasek, Debbie Harry, Sonny Bono, and Pia Zadora.

The lovingly choreographed dance sequences set to ’60s hits by the likes of Chubby Checker and Lesley Gore steal the show and planted the seeds for Hairspray‘s triumphant reincarnation decades later as a popular Broadway musical (and film adaptation of the same).

Returning to QFT for its 35th anniversary, come celebrate the heyday of hair-dos and hair don'ts.

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