A touch of Brazilian magic at the Kings

The cast of Hairspray

REVIEW: Hairspray at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

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Next week the Kings Theatre will be full of glitter, feathers and sequins with the Portsmouth Players’ production of Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, according to director John Bettesworth.

Running from February 12-16, the musical is based on the song of the same name. In the 1940s, an aspiring songwriter, Tony, is working as a pianist in a bar. Soon after, he meets Lola who wants to make it in show business. At the Copacabana lounge, they both start finding fame. However, fate steps in and she is swept to Havana to work in a night club and finds Rico, a suave gangster who manages the club.

The Portsmouth Players production of Copocabana.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13273-1)

The Portsmouth Players production of Copocabana.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13273-1)

John says: ‘The company wanted to do something big, grand and flashy, something for pure entertainment. Copacabana seemed the ideal choice.

‘It’s a very glamorous show and it definitely has that feel good factor, especially in these times. When things are hard, you could do with something light. It’s a lot of fun.’

In the production, a young man is struggling to write the words to the Copacabana song, and that’s when he lets his imagination run away with him: ‘It disappears into his dream which is set in 1947 and is a big technicolour musical. He discovers Lola, who is on her way to New York.

‘I know the cast are having a brilliant time rehearsing it. We’re also playing around with the lighting, so it’s very bleak in modern day and it’s very fun and colourful in the dream, so it’s obvious when we flash back and forth.’

The Portsmouth Players have just won at this year’s Guide Awards with the Best Amateur Musical Production for its October production, Disney’s Beauty and The Beast. And it’s given the cast a boost to perform well during this run.

John explains: ‘There were two rows of us at the Kings and we were absolutely over the moon. Beauty was a special show to perform and to be able to do a Disney show was amazing. The way it was received and the packed houses was absolutely incredible.

‘They can’t wait to get down to the Kings and start with the next show now. Our next production after this is Little Shop of Horrors and then Sweet Charity, so we’re trying to offer a variety that everybody would like to see.’

Andrew Warner plays Steven/Tony while Emma Wilson, who starred as Belle in Beauty and The Beast, will play Lola/Samantha.

Tickets cost £8.50 to £15 from the Kings Theatre, Southsea on (023) 9282 8282 or go to kings-southsea.com.