Celebrating its 50th anniversary and following a critically acclaimed run at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester, Hair the Musical has now transferred to London.
Much like Alice’s Adventures Underground and Goosebumps Alive before it, Hair has completely taken over London’s premier experiential venue, The Vaults in spectacular fashion.
The main bar and foyer have been transformed into a hippie haven, transporting patrons to an era of flower power, peace and love with huge bean bag chairs, tepee tents and cushioned areas – not to mention themed cocktails to help get you in the mood.
Once inside the relatively small auditorium, not much changes. The cast are seated in the centre of the stage before the show starts, joss sticks burning a hypnotic waft while you take your seats, completely taking you inside the ’70s setting of the show.
Things really kick up a gear with the opening bars of the iconic Aquarius, and the show barely lets up after that.
Seats on either side of the stage are unbelievably close to the action, even becoming involved in the show at several points (thanks to cast member Patrick George for picking on me) – so be warned if that’s not your thing.
Elsewhere, its simply a tour de force from a small ensemble, paying homage to the original Broadway show (yes, the naked finale to act one is still there), but it’s also done with a sprinkling of modernity and an instant freshness.
Andy Coxon, as Berger, is a fantastic (and gorgeous) lead, strongly supported by the likes of Robert Metson as Claude and Laura Johnson as Sheila; and, collectively, the cast are on fine form.
Thematically the show feels remarkably prevalent too, especially for something written half a century ago. With its focus on the need for love-ins and peaceful protests, Hair shines a mirror on today’s crazy world of fake news and political upheaval with a cheeky sensibility.
Highlights include numbers like Sodomy and the classic Let The Sunshine In, while the titular track frankly sets the place alight.
If you’ve never seen Hair live before, you’d be hard pushed to find such a brilliant production as this, especially in the show’s landmark year, while those who know the show well will still find plenty to love too – besides, in The Vaults’ fantastically kitted out venue it’s just simply one helluva trip.
Hair is running at The Vaults until 3 December 2017. Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster.co.uk