Dates and Venue 21 July - 1 August | Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island, Vancouver
Reviewer Robyn Thomas
Fighting Chance Productions presents a sexy and fun-loving rendition of HAIR the musical, directed by multiple award nominee and 2009 Ovation awardee Ryan Mooney. With a standing ovation finale at the Waterfront Theatre, the audience was swept up in the melodies of hit songs like “Aquarius” and “Good Morning Starshine”, leaving us all nostalgic for the counter culture of the sixties.
The storyline celebrates the “make love, not war” mentality during the Vietnam war, and follows a young lad named Claude played by talented Michael Brock. Urged by his parents to abandon his hippie lifestyle and make something of himself by going to war and serving his country, he has to choose between the demands of society and the pressures of his fellow hippies who choose to burn their draft cards
Showcasing many graduates of Capilano University, the youthful and passionate cast do justice to the energetic songs. Ryan Mooney and Fighting Chance productions have given the emerging artists in Vancouver a wonderful opportunity to show off their talent. Arielle Tuliao, who has the opening number, is a vocal powerhouse on stage. Sean Parsons, who plays the crazy and kinky Berger, has everyone laughing with his character’s antics and general disregard for the rules.
HAIR embraces the sexual revolution of the day, and isn’t shy with the odd nude scene or the occasional flashing. All in the fun loving, free spirit of the sixties of course, and not without meaning. Behind the sex and drugs is a genuine message of peace and love that seems to be just as timely in 2010 as it was several decades ago.
Entangled in a mess of relationships, the members of the “Tribe” aren’t always happy hippies. Someone is bound to get hurt, illustrated by Jenny Moase who plays the love-torn Sheila. Contrasting her is the comical Ranae Miller who plays the oblivious and pregnant Jeanie, hopelessly in love with Claude... who’s in love with Sheila... who’s in love with Berger....and on it goes.
The production added its own flavour and originality to the musical. At intermission we were all booted out by the “police” who were arresting us for watching such a “vulgar” show. The characters interacted with the audience throughout. During the last song of “Let the Sunshine In” several audience members were pulled upstage, myself included, to share in the dance.
Ryan Mooney’s production of HAIR will leave you feeling uplifted and liberated. So let the sun shine in!
© 2010 Robyn Thomas