MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL 2010
Lorraine’s Hair and Face
26 April 2010
by Special Guest Reviewer John Richards (from Boxcutters and The Outland Institute)
Business is slow at Lorraine’s salon but she’s certain things are about to change. She’s found some tins of International Roast by Merri Creek and with the help of her best friend Bev (and unpaid apprentice Jade) she’s going to turn things around. If only she could get the stamp of approval from Pam Panache…
As you may have guessed, this isn’t exactly The West Wing. Continuing Australia’s much-loved tradition of Suburban Gothic (which encompasses everything from Kath & Kim to the original Mrs Edna Everage), Lorraine’s Hair & Face presents a vista of synthetic fabrics, unflattering wigs and aspirational failure. This is a world where International Roast is the height of class, where people consider a pig shoot to be a romantic date and where you’re only ever a moments away from a double entendre (one of the characters is named Major Jizz, for example, and the Talking Poofy favourite “courtesy fingers” gets a guernsey here as well).
The cast are uniformly excellent. Andrea Powell presents Lorraine as a brittle but not entirely unlikable creation, and her Clara Bow lips are truly hypnotic; Scott Brennan manages the seemingly impossible task of playing two unconvincing women and two unconvincing men; and Geraldine Hickey is frighteningly real as the boganish Jade. Special praise must be given to Brennan’s turn as the Major, which sees him overplay every line in a way that makes even the most innocuous comment hilarious (he obviously learnt something from his recent stint on Neighbours).
There is perhaps too much reliance on the old “look-how-badly-we’re-doing-this” meta-humour, and the show certainly won’t give you any insight to the human condition, but it’s always a delight to see something in the comedy festival that strays from the traditional stand-up route. Lorraine’s Hair & Face not only has a narrative and characters (of a sort), but also a set, costumes and even an alarming stuffed cat. There’s even some extremely well-written songs which help stop the show from becoming too predictable (the cast do an excellent job of singing within character, although this occasionally makes the retiring Jade hard to hear).
It’s probably safe to say you’ll already know whether this show is for you – if you love good, uncomplicated comedy and appreciate the innate hilarity of wigs, Lorraine’s Hair & Face is the show for you. A perverted panto for the immature at heart, it’s well worth making an appointment.
This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com.
2009 Fringe review of Lorraine's Hair and Face.