SYDNEY, Australia, June 6 - Australian critics gave rave notices to the Sydney premier of Hair last night, but a fashionable audience striving to be "with it" got even better reviews in today's papers. They Sydney Daily Mirror headlined a news story on the opening "Two shows for the price of one."
Responding either to the spirit of the advance publicity for the musical or to the unconventional ambiance of the metro theater in Kings Cross, Sydney's Greenwich Village, or perhaps to both, the first night crowd of socialites, show business personalities and others turned up in rainment that, according to Rosemary Munday in the Sydney Sun, threatened to make the show's nude scene "an anticlimax".
Women in the first night audience wore the latest see-through styles and "floppy trousers and the lowest necklines seen in Sydney for many years" said Margaret Jones in the Morning Herald.
"but they could not compete with the splendor of the men," the reporter continued, "The more conservative males wore elaborately frilled shirts and outsize medallions with their evening dress. The younger men ran to the most outrageous varieties of mod gear. They wore Regency dress and befrogged and gilded military uniforms, sombrero hats, furs, feathers, silks, satins, and brocade."
Eric A. Willis, who, as chief secretary of the New South Wales Government, is in charge of theater censorship here, gave the production a clean bill after witnessing a preview.
"I really cannot see the need for the nude scene, but I did not find it offensive." He said. "Hair is not my type of entertainment," he added "I must admit I did not really understand it."
The newspaper critics, however, were unanimously enthusiastic
about the production, which has both Australians and Americans in the cast.
Griffin Foley of The Daily Telegraph described the show as "truly an experience."
Frank harris of The Mirror called it "a happening which gives new freedoms
to Australian theater and sets new standards."
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