Review: ★★★★ HAIR, The Vaults Waterloo

Hair really does feel like a little insight into the 60s. 

After a fantastic run at the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, HAIR has arrived at the Vaults and turned it into even more of a ‘hippie’ venue than it already was.

The almost-immersive show, in which the tribe and the audience are almost one because of physical space – is produced by Ollie Rosenblatt, Katy Lipson, Joseph Houston and William Whelton. It tackles issues which ‘the tribe’ are facing – both politically, emotionally and socially, including the conscription into the Vietnam War.

Choreographer William Whelton certainly deserves a mention, the choreography in a space which is not huge but provided a stage for a lot of people is innovative and exciting, and was executed wonderfully by all cast members.

Liam Ross-Mills, Jessie May, Natalie Green and Andy Coxon all bring particularly wonderful performances to the tribe. Jessie May is a beautiful and natural actor. She has a fantastic, believable quality and her voice is top class. Her monologue about her unborn baby stood out in particular. Natalie Green also had very impressive and secure vocals which really put the audience at ease whenever she sang.

Andy Coxon’s voice was as impressive as always, and he brought a fantastic level of contrast to his portrayal of Berger. He was playful and weird and wonderful throughout, but also ‘saw red’ and showed a completely different side to his character. Liam Ross-Mills acted brilliantly, he was great to watch and nothing he did felt forced which really good to see in such a bizarre show!

It is strange to think that when Hair originally opened in London 50 years ago they had to wait for the abolition of Theatre Censorship so that they could perform the infamous nude scene at the end of act one. While it has not lost its power, it is distinctly less shocking in 2017.

It may have been a one off issue – but there were definite sound issues in this venue. At times it was very loud and other times the balance just wasn’t right, leaving the audience unable to hear parts of the ensemble numbers. The production can feel like an amalgamation of songs at times rather than a continual, flowing story, which is frustrating given the high quality of the music and the potential of the subject matter, but overall it shows an informative and fun snapshot into tribe life of the sixties – it is a lot of fun and worth a watch.

Book tickets for hair direct from the box office at

Emma Betty
Emma Betty

Emma Betty is 28 and a nurse in Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. Emma has the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Soundtrack (On CD!) to blame for her love for Musical Theatre, which she found in her parents living room pretty much as soon as she was old enough to know what it was. She began combining her love for Theatre, the Internet and Writing while she was still at school, through various blogs and on social media. Having moved to London in 2013, she launched Upper Circle 4 years later. A couple of years on, she is delighted to have a small team and is so grateful to those helping Upper Circle to grow every day!

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