Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Hair!"

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note: entire contents copyright 2009 by Beverly Creasey

Keep on Rockin' Me Baby

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

Way before LOL was the hip “in” code, LSD and LBJ were the rallying cries of a generation. Timothy Leary had us dropping out and turning on while Ragni, Rado and MacDermot’s HAIR had us celebrating the counter culture in style. You may think the cutting edge musical of the sixties is showing its age forty + years later. It isn’t shocking anymore, that’s for sure but it’s still fun!

Although the bloom is off the rose, the problems plaguing a new generation are sadly the same as they were back then. It’s just a different war this time that’s slaughtering our young while the generals (and their kids) are safe at home. And the pollution we complained about (“Hello Carbon dioxide”)? It’s worse than it ever was.

So hooray for Turtle Lane Playhouse’s brave revival! Bill Doscher’s cheeky production kicks off gloriously with Erin Beaber and company’s rousing “Age of Aquarius.” The tribe cavorts with abandon (on John MacKenzie’s hippie set resplendent with Michele Boll’s clever, retro projections), delivering those delicious songs (musical direction by David Robbins) as if they were brand new. Even if you know all the lyrics, you’ll be pleased with the ingenious choreography ( including an ASL “Let the Subshine In”) by Laurie Fisher. And Richard Itczak’s duds look like the real McKoy.

The performances are lovely, with special mention to Matthew Torrance for a rip roaring “I Got Life,” to Kerrin Rhuda for a sweet, touching “Frank Mills,” to Rishi Basu, Amy Catherine Strong and Sean London Young and the entire psychedelic cast for the rest of the music, especially the visceral “Three-Five-Zero-Zero.”

"Hair!" (25 September - 18 October)
283 Melrose Street, NEWTON MA
1 (617) 244-0187

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide