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HAIR - Nice Swan Theatre Company

Published by: Steve Burbridge on 5th Sep 2012 | View all blogs by Steve Burbridge

HAIR - Nice Swan Theatre Company at The People's Theatre, Newcastle

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Any production staged by Nice Swan Theatre Company is always worth a trip. The sheer talent, commitment, exuberance and chutzpah involved makes for a thoroughly engaging and inspiring evening.

Following their successful productions of Spring Awakening, in 2010, and West Side Story, in 2011, they returned to the stage of The People’s Theatre last night with a stunning revival of Hair, the rock musical which tells the story of a group of politically-active hippies of the age of Aquarius, living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War.

Hair puts rock music and the culture that went with it on stage in a show which has a strong effect on everyone, and acts as a bridge between generations and viewpoints. What looks like incredible chaos is actually incredibly organised chaos! The show has a vitality, a timelessness and a meaning that outlives the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in America.

When the West End production was first staged in September 1968, the original London ‘tribe’ launched the careers of Paul Nicholas, Elaine Paige, Richard O’Brien and Tim Curry, to name a few. Without a doubt, this current North East production has some future stars among its ‘tribe’.

The entire cast deliver solid performances and it always seems so unfair to single out individuals. However, I must make mention of Thomas Whalley (Berger), Dale Jewitt (Claude) and Dylan Stafford (Woof), each of whom delivered compelling characterisations which were entirely convincing.

From a musical point of view, Beth Macari (Dionne) stole the show with her soulful vocals, with Quentin Whitaker (Walter) coming a close second. The musical numbers, which include the phenomenal Aquarius, I Got Life, Let The Sunshine In and, of course, the title song were delivered with enthusiastic relish.

Indeed, the entire production values are of the highest possible standard, with not even the most minor detail being overlooked. The simple but effective set was dominated by a fabulous psychedelic camper van (with a P3 ACE registration plate!) and a huge dream-catcher, and Kirsty Emery is to be commended for her innovative design.

Producer Jamie Gray, Director Jane Hutchinson, and Choreographer Stephanie Smith have collaborated to create a production which is never anything less than astounding on every level and is guaranteed to send you home higher than any of the illicit substances featured in the show.

Not to be missed!


 Runs until Saturday 8th September, 2012.


1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 5 years ago
    Hair has so many classic tunes but the subject matter was so controversial at the time that it still seems to resonate as contemporary today as we draw parallels with current events. Great to see this revival is still impressing audiences now!

    Sadly, the geek in me has to point out that the vehicle registration "P3 ACE" would only have it the road in 1996 (sorry!). ;o)
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