The Arts

Mirvish Productions/The Public Theatre – Hair

Mirvish Productions/The Public Theatre – Hair featured image

Reviewed by Paula Citron

Mirvish/Public Theatre
Music by Galt MacDermot
Book & lyrics by Gerome Ragni & James Rado
Directed by Diane Paulus
Performed by Steel Burkhardt, Paris Remillard, Mike Evariste, Phyre Hawkins, Sara King, Kaitlin Kiyan, Ryan Link and Aleque Reid
Royal Alexandra Theatre
Dec. 13 to 31, 2011

The make love/not war message of the 1967 musical Hair seems more potent than ever, given the “occupy” movement of today.

The flower children tell us through song, what they are rebelling against/and or/what they are fighting for. There is a shard of a story – tribe member Claude gets drafted and because he doesn’t burn his draft card, goes to the killing fields of Viet Nam.

This production works because it is not slick, soulless Broadway. Diane Paulus directed the original production for New York’s Public Theatre – a home of integrity – and choreographer Karole Armitage has spend her dance career in Europe, so every movement grows organically from the lyrics.

The cast is young and enthusiastic, and characterization is strong. Steel Burkhardt is absolutely charismatic as tribe leader Berger, while Paris Remillard is heart-breaking as Claude.

Paulus has instilled a dark tone of melancholy that gives the musical a whole new meaning.

Hair continues at the Royal Alexandra Theatre until Dec. 31.

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