It’s been 50 years since the premiere of Hair the musical, yet it’s themes of war, peace and a country divided are still sadly relevant today, as this new production at The Vaults aims to prove.
In typical Vaults style this show is not your average performance, as soon as you enter the building you are transported to the free loving, peace promoting times of the hippy revolution. The box office and bar are covered in anti-war slogans, the floor is made of soft wood chips and every surface is covered in throws and blankets, with bohemian-style tent spaces created for the audience to relax in to set the mood before the show begins.
The theatre space itself is simplistically staged in contrast to the colourful decor that takes over the room. Lighting is similarly simplistic yet effective aided by the costumes and inspired use of imagery throughout. The live band really adds to the authenticity, although there are times when it drowned out the vocal performances.
However the real draw of the show is in the performers themselves. These are 100% Westend standard performers seen here in London’s premiere fringe theatre. There have been very few times that I have seen a cast where every performer is this committed for the whole show. There are no dips in energy or performance level throughout, which really elevates this show to one of the greatest musicals of the year. Vocal talents are seriously impressive across the board, and the physicality is just as impressive! Movement direction was similarly impressive using a stripped back, but engaging style. There is a real union between the actors that feels like it goes beyond what you see on stage; the atmosphere is palpable.
The plot does take a little while to get going, but famously it’s not the most plot-heavy musical in the world. When it does take off, the individual characters really distinguish themselves and this is where the joy in this musical lives: in the characters. Each performer totally commands their own performance.
This show is a representation of the hippy age told with a golden glow, it’s enough to make you want to join in and start revolution by the finale. Despite its occasionally serious subject matter, I left the performance feeling high on life and ready to take on with the world. Any show that gets a cynical London audience to it’s feet and swaying to hippy beats on a dark Monday evening is doing something right! This is a show that deserves a full house and a standing ovation every night, beat the winter blues and grab a ticket while you can. This might just be the best production of Hair you will get a chance to see!
Hair is being performed at The Vaults until the 13th January 2018, tickets range between £25 and £50 and can be purchased here.
*I was invited by the PR company to review this production, all words and opinions are my own.