This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius! With these famous words I experienced the ‘new age’ movement of StageArt’s production of Hair at Chapel Off Chapel.
From the second you walk into the venue, you feel like you have transported back in time with hippies scattered throughout the space and mingling – in character – with the audience. These guys don’t just break the fourth wall: they smash right through it! There are many moments where the cast runs into the audience singing their songs, speaking directly to us and generally including us in the show. Costume designer Hazel Green has also perfectly encapsulated the essence of the era with her pieces for the cast.
The level of energy the cast had and maintained throughout Hair was quite phenomenal. During the rousing final number of Let The Sun Shine In, I could hear the breathlessness of some of the performers as they stood beside me having given the song all they had.
The other stand-out numbers would have to be the famous Aquarius, Hair as wonderfully performed by Ashley Rousetty and Sam Kitchen and What A Piece of Work Is Man sung brilliantly by Mitchell Sanfillipo and Gina Mets. However, and this is my main qualm with the show, the sound production was not up to scratch. There were moments throughout where it became difficult to hear what was being sung or spoken as the mics would drop in and out.
With eighteen performers and a brilliant five-piece band – led by musical director Cameron Thomas – on stage the whole time you would be right to assume that it is a large space. Upon inspecting the stage and seeing that it is in fact a very tight place I appreciated how much precision and care was needed for the choreography to work and the level of awareness the actors needed at all times.
Famously ending with that powerful final scene and its strong message regarding war which remains relevant in today’s society, you have two more weeks to “come to the orgy” that is Hair and revel in this wonderfully colourful, vibrant and trippy production.
Venue: Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran
Season: JAN 31st – FEB 17th, Wed – Sat 8pm, Sat & Sun 2pm
Tickets: $46.50, $41.50 Conc