In 2016 Hope Mill Theatre presented a hugely successful in-house production of Hair in their Ancoats venue. Such was the success that, after a run in London, the production has now embarked on an 18-week tour of some of the UK’s biggest theatres.
The original production worked perfectly in the intimate performance space; transferring to the stage of the Palace Theatre is a very different scenario, and one that I was concerned would not work. How wrong could I be!
Telling the story of a group of US pacifist hippies during the Vietnam War, this fast-paced, vibrant kaleidoscope of music explodes onto the Palace stage. Balancing a life of drugs, love and sexual freedom against the pressure of Conservative US parents, Claude must make the decision between burning his draft card or heading to the Vietnamese war zone; a decision that will impact his own life and that of his fellow Tribe.
The ensemble cast hit every note as song after song from Aquarius to Good Morning Starshine fill the theatre. Jake Quickenden (Berger), Paul Wilkins (Claude), Marcus Collins (Hud), and Daisy Wood-Davis (Sheila) take on the leading roles, but every performance by the Tribe members is a shining example of energy and talent. Sat middle stalls offered a closeness to the action akin to the intimacy of Hope Mill, and an opportunity to join the cast on stage for the Be-In finale.
Whilst the Hair of 2019 with its explicit drug use, profanity and famous nudity may not cause the controversy that it did in the 1960s, the question of fighting for peace is still relevant today. Fifty years on this anniversary tour is a faultless production that really does let the sun shine in!
At the Palace Theatre: April 8th – 13th 2019