The Arts Club Theatre Company

Shear Madness
by Marilyn Abrams and Bruce Jordan
based on Scherenschnitt by Paul Portner

Date 2 June - 16 July 2005 Venue The Granville Island Stage Reviewer Jane Penistan


 

Director Bob Lohrmann Original Director Bruce Jordan Set Ted Roberts Costumes Angela Kekich Lighting Marsha Sibthorpe Stage Manager Louis-Marie Bournival

 


Dawn Petten and Pam  Hyatt

Shear Madness is a guaranteed laugh. Not only is it very funny, the audience is expected to assist two unsuspected plain-clothes policemen to solve a murder mystery. No, there's no body on stage, but upstairs above the crazy hairdressing salon lies a body, done to death with barbers' shears.

The action starts before the last of the audience is seated, with frantic shampooing, rinsing, and towelling, not to mention the incessant ringing of the telephone. Mayhem and organized chaos are the keynote.

Central to the action is Marco Soriano, the hair stylist par excellence, and owner of the establishment. He rents the premises from Mrs Isabel Czerny, who lives upstairs. He also has an apartment in the building, where his gourmet dinner is cooking. He is a harried man, too busy to do all he has to do. But he, like others is no lover of Mrs Czerny. Tony Whitcomb is this flustered, coiffeur, barber, proprietor and murder suspect. Dawn Petten is his blue-haired, gum-chewing, seductively attired, sexy assistant, Barbara de Marco.

Bob Lohrmann, the associate director of Shear Madness at the Kennedy Centre, directs this production which runs at breakneck speed, with occasional short pauses for breath taking.

 

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Customers at the salon are Mrs Shubert (Pam Hyatt), a fashionable and apparently wealthy, late middle-aged woman. Flamboyantly dressed Mrs. Shubert is on her way to the airport to catch a vacation flight. She has a propensity for picking up trifles and putting them in her capacious handbag. She uses the shop's telephone as and when she chooses.

Two apparently businessmen are waiting, one for a haircut and one for a shave. It's a long time since Marco performed this office and his ineptitude subjects Nick O'Brien (John Murphy) to some embarrassing over generous use of lather. His skill with the razor leads to much trepidation. The other customer is the patient Mr Edward Lawrence (Peter Graham-Gaudreau). These two gentlemen turn out to be members of the police force, and at the cry of "Murder" from Barbara, promptly take over the investigation.

From now on the audience must be very attentive, as the cops will ask them to detail the movements of all the characters of the cast. After the intermission, Nick O'Brien holds an inquiry into the death of Mrs Czerny, with input and questions from the house. Who done it? Go and find out for yourself, and draw your own conclusions. They may not be the same as those of Thursday night's audience.

This is great fun and brilliantly performed by all the cast. Don't miss this hugely entertaining bit of summer froth from the salon.

2005 Jane Penistan

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