As a huge fan of the movie version of Hair (since I was around 16!) I was so excited to finally see the stage production. The musical follows a group of politically (and sexually) active hippies in New York City, leading a Bohemian lifestyle, when one of them, Claude, gets drafted to serve in the Vietnam war. He then has to decide if he is going to dodge the draft as it isn't what he believes in, or serve his country in a war he doesn't agree with.
From the moment we sat down in the theatre, we were transported to 1967, with the music and backdrop of the hippie camp. It was truly an immersive experience - we felt throughout the first half that we had been thrown into the '60s, being introduced to the characters and learning about their stories. The psychedelic music, the fast pace at which scenes moved, and references to drugs taken made us feel, well honestly, like we were having some sort of trip ourselves!
We thought it was really interesting how they brought the subject matter up to date during the introduction by playing clips from President Trump's rallies and speeches - it really made us think about how history repeats itself and how relevant many of the issues tackled in Hair are relevant today.
I think I came at a slight disadvantage having seen and memorised so much of the film version of Hair, as it turns out that it's actually quite different from the show. For instance, in the musical, Claude is part of the band of hippies who is rebelling against his parents to live the 'free love' lifestyle. This is stark contrast to the film, where Claude arrives in New York City as a clean cut kid ready to enlist in the military. Also, one of the main characters plays a completely different role - so I think if I'd realised before or read up on the differences between the versions, I would have been able to just 'go with it' a little more. My fault! Despite this, I still found the show very enjoyable.
The second half of the show ramped it up a notch, which we didn't realise was possible, as it included a very detailed and intense hallucination Claude had on the night he had to decide whether to enlist. Possibly some of the show is slightly confusing at first watch, but the show quickly answered our questions and we were entranced. The hallucination scene was so colourful, so strange, so out there. I won't spoil the ending, but I've never seen a finale like it!
|Jake Quickenden as Berger was really likeable, he captured the character very well!|
Overall, this production of Hair is quite an experience. It is immersive, all encompassing, and quite strange, with a very talented cast and plenty of amazing and funny songs.
Hair The Musical is in Birmingham at the moment, as previously mentioned, and then will be continuing on its UK tour until August this year. Take a look at their site (HERE) for a full list of dates and links to where you can purchase tickets.
*We were gifted tickets to see Hair the Musical, however all opinions are our own.