They say that actions speak louder than words. So consider these facts if you are thinking of seeing ‘Hair’ tonight: firstly, the audience was sold out and secondly, there was a standing ovation on opening night.
If you are still not convinced – here is a bit more.
‘Hair’ had a lot to live up to, as practically every St. Andrews publication had an article previewing and interviewing the Tribe cast. The energy of opening night was palpable as the audience entered the theatre. As I was finding my seat I felt like I was in a time machine and back in the USA during the 70s.
The hippy ambiance was conveyed perfectly throughout the entire performance. From the authentic ‘79 VW Campervan to the live orchestra who sat on stage without shoes, the stage emanated the hippy counter culture and sex revolution. By the end of the first act the Tribe had fully acquired the stoned hippy persona. Emily Salt and Yen June Lau in particular did a great job embracing the free spirit.
One of the strongest elements of the musical was that each actor added a sturdy personality to the plot. It did not matter if they were a main character or not, each actor added something individual to the minimal plot line of the musical. I admit, at first I was confused as to what was going on. The musical is not driven by action, but by the feelings and the spirit of the protests in American in the 70s. However, by the second act I was right along with the actors as scenes effortlessly flowed together. This proves that a strong plot isn’t necessarily needed when there is a cast able to give so much passion to their performance.
When the musical was first produced it was praised as being the first ‘rock musical’ so the songs play a vital role. Hannah Risser’s opening rendition of ‘Age of Aquarius’ set the bar high for the musical standard of the play. Each song was better than the last, with Ayanna Coleman saving it all for ‘Let the Sunshine In.’ Overall, the strongest songs were with the whole cast singing together, radiating the spirit of the play. Tommy Rowe and DJ Ball both did a good job at adapting to their new hairdos and fully embraced their hippy characters. However, it was Clare Sheehan and Joe Cunningham who stole the show with their comedic acting abilities.
Director Adelaide Waldrop and Musical Director Brendan Macdonald under the supervision of producer Mimi von Schack combine into a great team to transport the audience back to the age of Aquarius, when your main pride was your long and flowing hair.
Photography by Paige Johnson. Images compiled by Nicole Horgan.