Marking 50 years since its Broadway opening in the late 60s, Hair was originally billed as a ‘tribal love-rock musical’, which decades on, is still a perfect description.
Audiences are introduced to a tribe of young hippies living a bohemian lifestyle that’s peppered with drug use, rebellion against the Vietnam war, pressures from conservative parents and irreverent sexuality.
By its very nature, the content covered in Hair is liberal, unapologetic and shocking, and still includes the show’s now infamous nude scene. Yet despite being quite clearly set in the late 60s, Hair's themes of race, religion, sexual freedom and political protest still seem strangely relevant in 2019.
Within it’s opening minutes, goose bumps tingled across my arms, as Hair's phenomenally talented cast combined their powerful harmonies for ‘Aquarius.’
Quite beautifully, the diverse cast were each given their own time to shine throughout the show, meaning we could fully appreciate the incredible power and control from Aiesha Pease as Dionne; The clarity and capability of Natalie Green’s Cassie and the dynamic characterisation from former The X Factor singer, Marcus Collins as Hud – who rocked a wig that would make even Jack Sparrow green with envy!
The lead billed stars Jake Quickenden and Daisy Wood-Davis also didn’t disappoint. Despite snapping off his toe nail in the opening number and carrying on like a trooper, Quickenden’s portrayal of the rebellious tribe leader, Berger was funny, charming and emotive.
Hair really gives you value for money in terms of the musical numbers it squeezes into its two-hour run time.
Featuring almost 50 songs, some of which are now synonymous with anti-establishment culture, each was performed with the fervour and vitality you’d expect of young people passionate about their cause.
But perhaps the unsung heroes of this performance are Hair's band of musicians. Led by musical director Gareth Bretherton, the on-stage band provided the perfect wall of sound to accompany the cast’s powerful vocals, and as bands go, they were as tight as Berger’s thong!
While a number of audience members clearly weren’t prepared for the controversial themes of Hair, leaving during the interval meant they missed the most rousing encore I’ve ever had the pleasure to have watched.
We won’t spoil it for those waiting to attend, but be sure to have your dancing shoes at the ready, expect some positive vibes, incredible harmonies, and dancing in the aisles, as the cast really welcomes the audience into the world of Hair.
By Melissa Hamblett
Tuesday 02 April 2019
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