WAAPA: Hair causes Hallucinations

Hair is an ensemble piece that recounts and shares the thoughts, lives and angst of hippies disillusioned with the American political system during the 1960s. Cast members certainly were ‘hairy’. All male cast members, bar one, had beards and the females underarm hair.

Photo:  Jon Green
Photo: Jon Green

Director Tanya Mitford elicits some fine performances from the cast of musical theatre third year students.

Du Toit Bredenkamp as Claude has an engaging presence on stage and by the second act you really do hope Claude is brave enough to burn his draft card. Shannnen Chin-Quan as Crissy gives a heartfelt performance of ‘Frank Mills’, while Chloe Wilson, as tourist Margaret Mead, gives a comical performance flirting with the younger generation. Daniel Berini as the leader of the Tribea, Berger, keeps the narrative moving with a solid performance.

A fun and innovative set design by Hannah Metternick-Jones saw performers sliding down slides, jumping on trampolines, climbing monkey bars and spinning on playground spinning tops. Choreography by Tanya Mitford was fun and fresh, while costuming by Georgia Metternick-Jones reflected the era of the sixties.

The cast were certainly having a good time during the first act, but it took until the second act for the audience to relax and begin to show signs of engaging with the performance.

There are so many political layers to explore in Hair. The Vietman War, drugs, free love. This performance appears to be more interested in highlighting the sexual revolution of the narrative rather than exploring other layers with similar depth.

The final hallucination scene is powerful as images from American history, best forgotten, are acted out in rapid succession with strobe lighting. It is in this scene, where American history is metaphorically stripped bare, that the cast remove their clothes and stand naked before the audience.

The West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) Musical Theatre students have once again begun the year with a high quality and provocative show.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *