Sunday, 6 March 2011

I Want That Hair – The Chesterfield Room: Sydney, Australia

Writer: Jane Thornton
Director: Andrew Mead
Reviewer: David Kary

British playwright Jane Thornton’s (‘Shakers’) play ‘I Want That Hair’ sees two women, hair salon work colleagues, owner Bex and associate Heidi, share stories, in between the occasional client, about their lives, their hopes, insecurities and disappointments. Bex, in particular, is in a reflective mood, she has just turned 40. 

Bex wonders whether she would have had a better life for herself if she had done something with her University degree rather than slot into the family hairdressing business, after her mother died of cancer. She reveals to Heidi how in her youth she was a bit of a wild child, a punk with bright pink hair and leather boots. Heidi can’t quite believe it! 

Cheap champers are popped and chocolate boxes are prised open as they imbibe and indulge and go on to compare their sex lives! Bex has only been with her husband whilst Heidi has had casual encounters as well as relationships. Heidi opens up to Bex about how she lost her son at fifteen after he was bashed senseless outside a pub, where he had been underage drinking. She sat with him in a coma for four days in hospital before they turned off his life support. 

They talk about their fear of ageing, joke about their waistlines and the woes of plastic surgery, and of-course their customers- who want them to run a quick conditioning fix through their hair, create a miracle, and change their lives! There are lighter moments too as when Heidi complains about, and demonstrates explicitly, the perils of a recalcitrant thong, much to the audience’s amusement. 

Life is a moveable feast and the women keep a constant eye on the new, trendier salon that has opened across the road and has taken a lot of business away with their enticements of nibblies, exotic teas and even bum massages. Bex doesn’t want to follow suit, and won’t budge from her comfort zone of the ‘shabby chic’ of her late mother’s salon. 

Andrew Mead’s production serves Thornton’s touching, funny character study of two very different, but very natural and feisty women. The style of play suited the pub venue, and Elizabeth Rutter as Bex and Maggie Scott as Heidi achieved a good rapport with a relaxed, receptive audience.
Runs until Sunday 13th March, 2011
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