Benidorm star Tony copes with killer heels for Sheffield stage show

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We’re used to seeing Benidorm star Tony Maudsley in a vest and skimpy shorts but he found high heels far more of a pain for his role in Hairspray.

Tony, who plays camp hairdresser Kenneth in the long-running ITV comedy, stars in the popular musical at Sheffield Lyceum as the reclusive mum Edna Turnblad.

He said: “I haven’t worn high heels before and it was painful.

“It’s hard work being a woman, much harder than being a man. My legs hurt, my lower back hurts. I get out of bed in the morning like an 80-year-old man.

“I have to shave a couple of times a day because my beard is coming through but it’s really good fun despite the pain.”

Tony said he’s had a few wardrobe problems in Benidorm too as he has put on weight but those tight shorts that Kenneth wears were bought three years ago!

He said: “It’s a gift of a part. I’ve been truly grateful.”

Tony said that the backdrop to Hairspray is the Baltimore riots of 1962 and Edna’s daughter Tracy’s fight for equality for the black friends that she goes dancing with, using her new-found TV fame.

He said: “It’s also about sexism and the unfair expectation put on women to look and act a certain way. “

He described his character Edna: “She doesn’t understand the 60s and can’t live up to what is expected of the women of her day. She hasn’t been outside her apartment for 10 years.

“It’s her daughter Tracy that brings her out into the modern world. She blossoms into this confident lady who receives love from everyone all around her.”

He is keen to make Edna feel more like a real woman.

“I wanted people to see that confidence build and come on the journey with her. She’s a lady who knows what’s right from wrong and wants the best for her daughter.

“You can’t go for the cheap laughs. I’m a 20-stone man playing a woman but it’s my ambition to get the audience to forget that.

“There’s a part in the show where I kiss Peter Duncan and the test is if the audience go ‘aah’ or ‘ew’. I think we have cracked it.”

In a few weeks’ time, Tony will leave Hairspray one day and be on the set of Benidorm the next.

The cast film each series for four months from March, until the weather gets too hot to work for a whole day.

They don’t all stay in the Sol Pelicanos hotel where the show is filmed, though, as it would be too chaotic.

“You can’t even go to the shop for a pint of milk without being stopped,” said Tony.

Hairspray is at the Lyceum next Monday to Saturday. Box office: 0114 249 6000 or sheffieldtheatres.co.uk