Hair – the Musical

It’s a deliberate ploy on my part not to find out about the show before I got there, as I try and avoid film reviews before I have watched the movie myself. I may have been in a production of Hair at school or not but my memory definitely has me dancing to Aquarius in primary school. Long colourful scarves and much shape-throwing around the floor was involved.

When I have mention this to people they always ask, ‘they had you naked in primary school?’ No obviously not. Well not that I know of, it was the 1970s.

So all through the first half, I couldn’t help but wonder why there were all clothed. They may have raided my wardrobe as the colourful willowy way-over-the-top super long Merlin-type sleeves were all over the stage. The costumes also reminded me of when I used to patch-up my jeans with patches depicting band’s names, although this was in the 1980s. I don’t wear jeans often enough to wear through them these days but have a desperate urge to start patching them with colourful material anyhow.

So having seen Hair –the Musical, I’m still not sure of the story but loosely it’s about ‘Flower Children’ in 1967 being opposed to being drafted into war.

“The army recruitment office is run by white men, recruiting black men, to go and kill yellow men to defend the country they stole from the red men.”

They are all high, living the free love lifestyle to the full and they’re super funny with it. The naked bit comes at the end of the first half with very much subdued lighting falling.
Even when one of their own appears to join the army, when all else have ceremoniously burnt their call-up cards, the musical frivolities continue.

Hair is funny throughout and the only negative, which stops me from seeing it again, unless I sit right in the middle of the stalls was the constant onslaught of the cast coming into the audience. I don’t like having my space invaded, unless I invite you, stay at arm’s length. No touching, no talking, and no telling me I have to clap my hands. I’m paying you to perform, not the other way round. Their behaviour made me constantly sit on edge and somewhat spoilt my enjoyment.

My companions enjoyed all of those shenanigans though and were even happy to go on stage at the end when invited. A pointless invitation as it meant an anti-climax with the show finishing whilst a large part of the audience was on stage and there rest were getting up to leave. No ‘Aquarius’ finale to be seen.

The talent, the voices and the long hair of every cast member is however, undoubted.

7½/10 (lost a point for over-zealous audience invasions)

Coming back from the theatre on a high factor; 7½/10 (ditto)

3 thoughts on “Hair – the Musical

  1. It’s about Vietnam and recruiting people to go and fight on the US side. Burning the draft cards is when Claude decides that he’s going to go fight (he’s the one who sings Manchester England England – sometimes in a dubious accent).

    From what I remember we finished with Let The Sunshine in (Aquarius only appears at the beginning)

    My favourite bit is the song Frank Mills – or the use of Shakespeare in the second half (What a Piece of Work – i think is the name of the song but it’s based on a bit from Hamlet)

  2. Thanks for comment.

    But why does he decide to join up when everyone else was rebelling against signing up?

    Yep it finished the same – anti climax I thought.

    Don’t remember the songs that well (apart from the 2 I already knew – good for popmaster) and don’t recall any Shakespeare?

    Perhaps I was so anxious that any minute now a cast member was going to jump up behind me I wasn’t concentrating!

    It was great though – wouldn’t have missed it

    • In the film he’d moved to NY to sign up for the army – so it was always his intention to sign up he just got a bit waylaid by some barmy hippies on the way. However in the Musical he was a pacifist and had to decide whether to go or stay. Berger gives him a joint laced with hallucinogen, then depending on the version – some versions have Claude waking up from the hallucinations and then committing suicide others having dying from an OD in the hallucinations – something along the lines of he dies here or there which does it matter. (In our production the director had Claude come on in an army uniform then commit suicide by overdose (i think there was some clever staging that involved him falling backwards off the stage through the curtain or he was carried off by the cast)

      Shakespeare: It’s towards the end of the second half as two of the cast members ponder over why everyone went to war, and how man can kill another man and things like that.

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