"THANK YOU STAGETEXT!"
Lissy Lovett and the Stagetext posse came up trumps when they persuaded the Gielgud Theatre to show one of the Hair performances with captions. We'd been dying to see this before it closed, it's a full transfer of the original Broadway cast transplanted into London's West End.
.....and it only took 40 years to come back!!!
Hair is in a nutshell about a group of hippies pushing for civil rights, protesting against the war in Vietnam, promoting love, peace and harmony.... and drugs, .....and promiscuous sexual freedom, .....and nudity, you get the drift, it's the full 'sex, drugs & rock 'n roll' shebang!
The cast were phenomenal, you couldn't single any one of them out as they were all superb. You are immediately transported to the 'Summer of Love' in 1967 and gain a (musical) look in (through rose coloured glasses I must say) about the East Village hippy culture at the time. Lots of people will know the songs but I feel few will know where they originate from, for example 'I Got Life' is currently on the Muller Yoghurt adverts (of all things!!)! 'Good Morning Starshine' also comes from the show, and of course 'Aquarius'.
The cast made full use of the theatre, regularly coming out into the audiences on both levels during the show, climbing over the people's seats and getting the audience fully involved with the production. They even made a point of the Stagetext captioning screen, which was placed (amazingly) centre-stage, during the show too, especially with the rather funny ad-libbed "..Say 'Raspberry!' Hubert.." segment, which was typed up almost immediately on the captioning screen - pure genius! Cue: lots of laughter across the theatre, and in the same breath it raises deaf awareness in the theatre circles, making access much more acceptable ....and that's brilliant.
The show deals with social peer-pressure, which we all go through, all of the trials, errors and judgements that go with it. It also includes several comical parental 'from the outside looking in' views too, especially with the characters Hubert and Margaret Mead. It is really easy to relate the show to today's youth, because, to be honest, it hasn't changed, it's all about growing up, social relationships, making decisions and learning from your mistakes.
The show climaxed with the whole audience being invited for a mass stage invasion and a reprise of 'Let The Sunshine In'
I have to say it was one of the best productions I've seen, I'd love to go and see it again. Sadly it's only on a short run as it's sticking with the Broadway cast. Which.... although grumbling.... is perhaps a good thing, as it is 'their' show, and a bloody good show it is too.