Hair Lets The Sunshine Into New Wimbledon Theatre

Review: The 50th anniversary tour of Hair starts in SW19

The psychedelic vibe of the American 1960s hippy scene is being recreated in Wimbledon, with the visit of legendary musical, Hair.

The world renowned musical is starting its 50th anniversary tour at New Wimbledon Theatre, where 'The Age of Aquarius' will be celebrated until Saturday (March 30).

I have to admit that if this production intended to capture the spirit of the age by leaving the audience a bit baffled at times, as if they were on a drug-fuelled trip, then it certainly succeeded!

The musical, which features nearly 50 songs during a fast-moving performance, loosely follows a tribe of New York hippies and the drafting of Claude into the US Army to fight in Vietnam.

With singing very much at the forefront of the show, it was a shame that some of the lyrics seemed to be a tad muffled, especially in the first act. But it was by no means vital to pick up every word to follow the general flow of events as the free-loving set of hippies protested against the Vietnam War.

The lighting and overall set design was very impressive, with the show's portrayal of a hallucinogenic vision of a battlefield death sequence in Act Two leaving a particularly memorable impression.

It won't surprise anyone to be told that this is not a musical for the easily offended, but the nudity sequence is brief and relatively tasteful. There are other controversial moments, but nothing that would really shock modern-day theatre goers. The show even raised the occasional laugh, especially when the audience were encouraged to join in with the fun.

Whilst I can't speak from personal experience of the feel of the 1960s, I am assured that it didn't quite capture the mood of the times. But there's no denying the energy demonstrated by the cast, including the talented on-stage musicians, and the final rendition of the iconic 'Let the Sunshine In' had the whole theatre up and dancing.

By Sue Choularton

  • Hair runs at New Wimbledon Theatre until Saturday (March 30) before embarking on tour.

March 28, 2019