01 October 2009

Lorraine’s Hair and Face

MELBOURNE FRINGE 2009
Lorraine’s Hair and Face
Bella Union
29 September 2009
Trades Hall, Old Council Chambers


How we love laughing at bogans, bad coifs and atrocious coffee, so what better place to set an Aussie musical than an outer-suburb hair salon? Being a bit ‘obsessed by hairs’ myself, I booked in for a cut-price special and cup of International Roast* at Lorraine’s Hair and Face.

Andrea Powell, Scott Brennan and Geraldine Hickey are co-owners and creators of Lorraine’s. Powell’s Lorraine runs the salon with an ironing tong fist and her long-time assistant Jade hasn’t been paid in years. When local beauty guru, Pam Panache, books in for a treatment, the tide seems to be turning and Lorraine may even outshine her rival, Joyce from Price Cuts.

From Major Jizz to a courtesy finger, the word play has the subtlety of a diamante g-string pulled over the fold of a bulging muffin top, but as Lorraine buys her biscuits at Aldi**, any class would just seem out of place.

Powell and Brennan are always funny, but Hickey stands back and steals the show. With immaculate timing and a deep understanding of joke, she makes the audience love her downtrodden Jade, so we’re with her on every laugh. We’re laughing at the other characters, who, as hilariously grotesque as they are, could be approached with a touch more love to create the recognition and empathy that leads to belly laughs.

Being preview night, there was room for a bit of tidying up at the salon, but the improvised interaction between the performers (rather than the characters) added to the fun. The songs are a hoot, but it’s not really a musical, as the singing could easily disappear without distracting from the story. However, I’d love to see the musical side of Lorraine’s develop and leave us singing our way out into Lygon Street, grateful that espresso and biscotti are within reach.

*I didn’t really drink any International Roast, or any instant ‘coffee’ for that matter.
** I don’t like food from Aldi either.

And here's what John Richards wrote about the next season.

More 2009 Fringe reviews.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

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