“This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius”, Manchester. Hair the Musical has returned to the city, after a successful run at Hope Mill Theatre.
It’s 1967 New York. The age of hippies, colour, drugs and war. Jonathan O’Boyle’s colourful and bright production hits home the fact that not much has changed since this point, using recorded voice clips of Donald Trump and Barack Obama during the opening scene.
The show punches you in the face with energy, as the cast encapsulate the audience with The Age of Aquarius. The tone of the show is quickly set, and the tight-knit cast never let the energy drop.
Jake Quickenden makes his place on the stage as Berger, a commanding and sensual leader of the hippies.
The band play live on stage, consisting of three guitars, a keyboard and drum kit. The show is basically all songs, so the band never stop, matching the cast’s energy and style as they are in tie-die costume and have the long, hippie hair to match, designed by Maeve Black.
Act 1 was quite hard to follow, due to some technical difficulties that made it quite hard to understand all the words. With a show like this though, you just need to let it happen, don’t try to hard to concentrate on the words.
O’Boyle’s direction and William Whelton’s choreography portray the themes of racism, oppression, revolution and love with power and intensity.
A show stealer had to be Aiesha Pease with her powerful and soulful voice in White Boys. Her sassy performance was stunning, and she owned the stage.
The last ten minutes of Act 2 was remarkable, with the harmonies and emotion that bled through the cast — a real goose-bump on the arms moment.
Colourful. Punchy. Wacky.
On at Manchester’s Palace Theatre until the 13th of April, tickets and information can be found on their website.