The 2 hour long acid trip I didn’t realise I needed. Last night I returned to the infamous Theatre Royal in Brighton and watched the spectacle that is ‘Hair’. As a musical theatre student, I’m ashamed to say I’d never seen this show or even know any songs from it! I went in pretty blind and I was blown away. Following a group of hippies in 1967 New York who are protesting the Vietnamese war, we see a group of friends face the challenges that come with being anti-war in this time.
The cast of the 50th-anniversary tour was star-studded, in a good way. Like I’ve said before, I don’t get particularly comforted by seeing X factor stars names lining my press releases. However, this was every bit as professional and high standard than a West End residency show. Jake Quickenden (dancing on ice, I’m a celeb, X-factor) lead the cast as Berger. He was so wonderfully flamboyant, eccentric and loud- such a great role for him. I’ve never heard him sing before and was impressed with his wonderful voice. He was the only one I actually knew was a ‘celeb’ , I assumed the rest of the cast were drama school graduates and musical theatre seasoned professionals. NOTHING about this production said ‘b-list celebrities trying to sing show tunes’.
From the offset, I was so impressed with the performance from Daisy Wood Davis, who played Berger’s love interest, Sheila. Her voice was absolutely incredible- such a controlled and strong belt with so much emotion. As I was in the 4th row, I really got to see her emotions on stage and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you’re not aware, like I wasn’t, she is famous for her former role in Hollyoaks.
Each and EVERY one of the ensemble impressed me. Whether it was the high belt of Aiesha Pease or the comedic performance from Tom Bales- I loved every single person on that stage. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way about a touring production- there’s always someone who falls behind for me in terms of star quality and stage presence.
One thing I loved about this show was the audience participation. Usually, this would make me break out in cringe sweats but they did it in such a tasteful way that made me feel at ease. From the very beginning, the theatre was flooded with the cast and they didn’t stop coming into the audience from there. As we were sitting on the end, we were the target for a few of the interactions but I loved it. Milly and I also got dragged up at the end for the post bow dancing, I took in every moment. Being on a stage that size was amazing and actually something I’ll never forget.
Overall, I have nothing but good things to say. The sound, lighting and set were a spectacle- like usual. At one point I even gripped hold of Milly’s arm as the bass was so intense and the scene was getting a little spooky. This show is such a fun experience and now I want to take my shoes off, lay in the grass and smoke weed. (joking, but not really). If you have a spare £15, GO AND SEE THIS SHOW. Even if it’s just for Jake Quickendens abs… Tickets here, thank you so much to Theatre Royal for having me!