‘Great music’ makes this a must-see show
By Peter Rimmer
Hair The Musical 50th Anniversary Tour
I RECALL going to the Empire 51 years ago, as a 16 year old, to see the original production of Hair. In fact, I was that impressed, I went a second time in the same week. On reflection, perhaps I went that second time just to try and understand what went on.
Hair, has never really gone away. Productions of the show have been performed many times over the years and of course hit recordings of songs, such as: Aquarius (Fifth Dimension) Aint Got No, I Got Life (Nina Simone) and Good Morning Starshine (Oliver) have keep the music in the public eye over the years.
It’s a show that wouldn’t be commissioned today as it implies that the use of drugs is a fun thing to do, which is rather misleading. However as a piece of history it’s a good night out.
Hair follows a tribe of hippies living in New York City during the Vietnam War. In their commune living, there is free love and plenty of drugs (what fun they must have had). Of course, the shadow of the war creeps over them. The trouble starts as tribe member Claude is conscripted to serve in the army, and the rest of the action is spent trying to get him out of it.
The cast are full of enthusiasm as they perform with vocals that almost lift the ceiling, and with X Factor’s Jake Quickenden as Berger bursting on to stage, the show gets off to great start.
A five piece band are on stage throughout the show, and they play great music. They perform everything from rock to acoustic numbers, and are well led by musical director Gareth Bretherton.
As previously mentioned, the play revolves around Paul Wilkins, as Claude the conscript. He has a great voice and gives the action some real depth as do Natalie Green and Aiesha Pease.
Local girl Kelly Sweeney, playing the part of Crissy, makes the most out of her part and it’s good to see her making inroads into the world of musical theatre.
But it’s the non-stop singing that makes this an event not to miss.
In the 60s it was seen as a controversial piece of political theatre, but not now, things have moved on and even the on-stage nudity is not outrageous and is very quickly over with.
A good crowd turned up for the first night, and plenty of them descended to the stage to join the cast for a final chorus of Let the Sunshine in.
I still don’t quite understand it, and the vision of love overcoming hate still has not come to fruition, but it is well worth buying a ticket to this good slice of nostalgia.