Hair: the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical

Hair: the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical
Book & lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado. Music by Galt MacDermot. Queanbeyan City Council. Directed by Stephen Pike. Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 19 September – 6 October, 2012.

It must be difficult in 2012 for a cast born in the 1990s to understand the concerns and attitudes of their forebears some four decades earlier. Then, the cold war; the Vietnam war; justified fear of atomic war; and other causes fomented a revolution in attitudes to the demands of the military–industrial complex. Today, that complex is well-embedded in American pop culture and nearly invisible, and would raise hardly a murmur amongst the young except for the new revolution, the Internet.

It would be surprising, then, if a young 2010s cast managed to convey, in dance, in walking, in modes of affection, and in speech mannerisms, what the hippies of the late sixties felt, wanted, and needed—though the dance moves shouldn't be too difficult for a choreographer to recapture.

 

The cast playing at the Q did as fine a job as one could expect. Several principals consistently sang well; the band played superbly; and the ensemble singing uniformly sounded good. I never lost the sense that what I watched was a performance, but it was a well-rehearsed, seamless one. Lighting was skilful; sound was consistently clear; costuming was excellent.

 

Hair was a brave choice; those attempting to portray the mood of two generations earlier will doubtless find the experience invaluable for their future acting careers.

 

John P. Harvey

 

Picture: Family Fotographics.

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