BWW Reviews: Wavestage's HAIR is High Energy & Refreshing
HAIR has been around for years. With music by Galt MacDermot, and book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, the show has been around long enough to earn a Tony win for best revival, and take that revival on a tour. Wavestage's production of HAIR channeled everything audiences have come to know and love of the iconic show.
When you frequent the theatre, you know that an actors ability to stay in character and work with technicaldifficulties is telling of a show's quality. When the curtain was about to rise at Wavestage's production of HAIR held at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing
Arts, the lead actor of the show did just that. In character as Claude, Eric Kopacsi addressed the audience in asking them to please turn off their "mobile devices," because they are crossing with technical lines and that it's "totally harsh." The moment set the stage for a fun filled show with fresh faces and what might be the perfect 60's vibe.
The show was all high energy, with no sour, apathetic, or tired faces in the company. The tribe was a small one, but what they lacked in size, they made up for with energy. All key players and extra tribe members had their game face on and were total hippies for the two and half hours of the show.
Aside from its rock music score, HAIR is loved for its hysterical monologues. In particular, the character of Berger has a particularly humorous monologue where he moons the audience and explains the heritage of his name. Joe Adams definitely channeled Berger'S energy, and had the audience laughing at his antics.
Hair is all about energy. It is about being transported into a time where kids who were barely adults were being drafted, and everyone was for free love. People were significantly less stressed and tense then, compared to now. The show encapsulated this atmosphere, as you believed each and every one of the tribe was an easy going hippie. Not only did the show manage to recreate what is the essence of the show by creating an undeniable strong hippy vibe, but the iconic characters were portrayed to a tee.
The production's Claude was perfectly lost, sassy, and talented. Kopasci's voice was perfectly soft and soothing. Adam as Berger was perfectly angry as he effortlessly channeled the rock, nasally tune commonly taken by the character. This played a major role in the show, considering some of the shows greatest numbers belong to Berger. "Going Down," and "Donna" are the two huge numbers Berger has to own, and boy did Adam sing the hell out of them. One of the shows catchiest numbers, "Black Spade" brought the house down, as the productions "Hud" displayed a dynamo persona. Mateo Mckay made the role his, and danced his way across the stage with sass, attitude, and pure talent.
The females of the cast were incredibly strong, as Rhiannon Kyle, Caleigh Kyle, and Kearyn Vos all took on their big numbers with passion. "Frank Mills" was perfectly sweet, "Easy to be Hard was heart-wrenching and emotional, and "Air" was just the right amount of quirky.
The stand out performance of the show however, went to Alessandra Long-Shaw as Dionne.Long-Shaw had you anticipating when she would sing next the entire show. She opened the show with a strong take on "Aquarius" and continued to wow the audience with "White Boys," and the classic "Let The Sunshine In."
The young, fresh faced cast put an incredible spin on the iconic characters of HAIR, and director Sarah Kyle clearly understood the essence of the much beloved show. Every move was in unison, lighting was appropriately "far out," and everything was done on cue. There was no dull moment in the Wavestage production of HAIR.
Wavestage's HAIR ended it's run on stage at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts Sunday, July 28th.