There’s no question that “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” will produce about the same jaw-dropping reaction as it did when the musical debuted in the late-1960s.
The UNC Pauper Players rendition of the famous musical was a vibrant and crazy look into the revolutionary era of hippies, burgeoning sexuality and anti-war sentiment of our parent’s generation, but resulted in a tangled mess due to a plot that proved too trippy.
Within the intimate setting of the Carrboro ArtsCenter, the audience was transported to a psychedelic world filled of freedom and lots and lots of incense.
However, the play was too psychedelic to even comprehend, and that is due in large part to the play’s original plot, which Pauper had little control over.
The first half made viewers question what was real or what could be one of the hallucinations from the drugs performers had been smoking.
The only thing the audience knew for sure was that there was a whole lot of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, and it wasn’t until the second act that the plot actually starts to come together coherently.
Luckily, the amazing performances by the actors saved the show.
Natalie Myrick, who plays Jeanie, is hilarious as the pregnant and often high hippie who is hopelessly in love with Claude.
Amberly Nardo’s Ronny shows off her wide vocal range from the beginning and all eyes and ears are on her as she commands the stage in the performance of “White Boys.”
Richard Walden, who plays Berger, the tribe’s kooky and uproarious ringleader, entrances the audience the moment he strips down to only a precisely placed piece of cloth. His free spirit and effervescence captures the essence of the generation’s forever-young mentality.
Claude, played by Cressler Peele, gives a commanding performance as a man torn on a battleground between what society expects of him and his own personal freedom. His performance of “Where Do I Go” perfectly resonates the predicament of Claude’s uncertain destiny.
Despite the good performances, it was still difficult to truly understand that generation’s existential woes because of the quick pace of the musical.
The musical went from one song to the next so quickly it was absolutely necessary to keep your playbill handy in order to figure out what song they were on.
“Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” was a groovy, shock-inducing trip back to a generation dead set on change.
However, at the end of the musical, the audience was left floating on a cloud of unanswered questions and trying to wrap its head around what just happened in the past two hours.
Staff writer Avery Thompson attended the Saturday night performance of “Hair” and gives the show 3 stars out of 5.
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