Hair the Musical, is continuing to celebrate its 50th anniversary with a UK tour, which opened this week at The New Wimbledon Theatre. The legendary rock musical, featuring the iconic hitsAquarius, Let the Sun Shine In, I Got Life and Good Morning Starshine, is a powerful production and Winner of the 2018 WhatsOnStage Award.
Streams of rainbow ribbons don the stage and the band themselves are housed in colourful huts with flower garlands. Welcome to the ‘Age of Aquarius’. It’s 1967 and a hippy commune in New York want to change the world. We meet Berger (Dancing on Ice winner Jake Quickenden), he’s wild, dressed in just a thong and like the rest of the group sexually liberated. Berger is a free spirit, having just been kicked out of high school, and Sheila, a protestor from NYU, yearns for his attention with a moving rendition of Easy to be hard showcasing the stunning vocals from Hollyoaks’ star (Daisy Wood-Davis.)
However, who’s into who aside, the main narrative is clear. Claude (Paul Wilkins) is being conscripted by the USA army, to go and fight in the Vietnam War-and he does not want to go… The boys burn their draft cards and the hippies join together as a band of ‘freaks’, rejecting mainstream culture instead expanding their consciousness through the use of marijuana and free love. Claude has hallucinations of war and his fate seems inevitable to us all.
Sexuality, race and equality all appear in this psychedelic exploration as the characters are united in their protest and songs- fighting for peace and love.
Director Jonathan O’Boyle’s show is full of energy, coupled with Maeve Black’s colourful set and costume design Hair the Musical is a stand out, intoxicating feel good show with a message that is just as important 50 years ago as it is now.
*Contains strong language, racial slurs, drug references and full frontal nudity.