A Tribal-Love-Rock musical. It is perfectly fitting then that ICU’s Musical Theatre Society chose Hair as their spring term 2010 production – a musical written by young people, for young people. Daring, absurd, surreal, lewd and crude all at once, Hair is also both fun and deeply political, tracking the lives of a tribe of New York hippies as they rebel against the government, ‘square’ parents and the draft.
With book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt Macdermot, this colourful and groovy show began life in 1967 off-Broadway. Fast-forward to over forty years later and it has enjoyed lengthy runs on both sides of the Atlantic as well as countless recordings of the soundtrack, a film adaptation and several awards. And for good reason too.
MTSoc’s production did glorious justice to the forty-odd songs that tie together the story of the Age of Aquarius tribe. Free love, free acid and free flowing hair abound but the looming threat and arrival of the draft throw hippy Claude into moral indecision as he deliberates over whether to resist the draft or resist pacifism.
Kicking off with the brilliant “Age of Aquarius”, the cast conveyed the vibrance and energy of that time with their own never ending vibrance and energy making one marvel at just how talented the cast are, not only wrestling with science degrees but also delighting us with impressive voices and acting skills after many many hours of hard work and rehearsals.
The whole cast were fantastic, managing to sing us numbers such as “Sodomy” and “I Got Life” (now used in Muller adverts) at the same time as leaping around the stage, but within them some truly incredible voices were to be found – Ebitimi Alaibe as tribe member Dionne and Robert Felstead as main-man Claude with Tosin Ajayi treating us to his wicked dance moves and James Brown impression.
The costumes and wigs were equally wonderful as were the set and ‘visuals’ (lighting). Musical director Zoe Humphries must also be commended for steering the brilliant band through the two-hour show that ended in an on-stage, audience-included Be-In to “Let The Sun Shine”.
If you have not got enough “Hair”, the West End production begins at the Gieldgud theatre on April 1st. More than anything this awesome production should persuade everyone to indulge in more of MTSoc and Imperial College’s artistic offerings and performances.