They came, they danced, they spread joy.
But all good things must come to an end and with an echo of cheering in our ears, they were gone.
On Saturday evening, the phenomenal American cast of Diane Paulus' revival of HAIR said their goodbye to London, The Gielgud Theatre and Owen and I.
We had already seen Gavin Creel's last night as Claude on Wednesday so it was time to put ourselves through the turmoil of watching the show knowing this was the last time - and also knowing the performers were thinking the same thing. As some of them have been with the show since 2008 when it first opened at the Delacorte in Central Park this had all the aspects of one emotional show.To be honest, I felt a bit sorry for anyone who was seeing the show for the first time as the show kind of lost it's shape a little as the audience response was so huge. But for us HAIRites it was a great opportunity to finally let rip and show The Tribe in what affection they are held.
Needless to say the Gielgud roof got it's first seismic shock when Sasha Allen finished singing AQUARIUS - a huge roar and a standing ovation marked the end of the number - Tribe member Hannah Shankman (brunette at the front in the picture above) was in the stalls aisle nearest us and with the ovation, her face crumpled into a teary smile. And we were off...Standing ovations abounded - at the end of the title number we again were on our feet applauding - and we had Darius Nichols as 'Hud' standing on the seat in front of us! It was a bit of a shame that Gavin Creel had to leave those few days before as it would have been great to see him in these circumstances.
It was a particular delight to be able to stand and applaud some performers - Kacie Sheik as 'Jeannie' with "Air", Andrew Kober as 'Margaret Mead' with "My Conviction", Caissie Levy as 'Sheila' with "Easy To Be Hard" and - best of all - Allison Case as 'Crissy" with "Frank Mills". Every time I have seen it she has broken my heart with this most gentle and touching song in the score and as I said in an earlier blog, she carefully guided us through it - pointing out the funny lines at the start but never failing to touch the heart at the end of it. She was quite adorable.After a much-needed drink and ice cream in the interval it was time to welcome in the second act. It seemed to whizz by and soon we were at the cold dawn of "Let The Sun Shine In" which again was greeted with a standing ovation midway through and as the Tribe left the stage for the last time revealing the snow falling on the fallen Claude, quite a few of them were already giving way to emotion too.
They raced back on stage to a thunderous ovation and there was one hell of a lot of love in the air. As soon as we saw the rails appear to be put on the stairs leading up to the stage we were off but hadn't reckoned on the cheeky buggers at the back who had followed the cast down the aisle when they returned. It was at absolute scrum and despite initial fears, we both managed to get on stage and join in the last dance.
I think that's me about 3:05 getting on stage looking about quickly then clapping with my hands over my head!
After it was all over we threaded our way through the throng and Owen managed to nab Allison Case just as she was heading into the wings. She graciously signed the picture Owen had taken of the two of us together on an earlier trip and we told her we would love to see her in future shows which she was most touched by.And with that, they were gone... gone to star in the theatre that lives in memory.