★★★★ “One of the most ingenious kids’ shows around”
The company is famed for physical theatre but, here, Spymonkey’s trademark style plays a supporting role to the hair madness. No bother, though, because the endless ingenuity of Toby Park and Aitor Basauri’s production makes it enjoyable fun for all the family. New recruit, the slightly dopey Hairnry (Matthew Faucher) arrives at the Hair Control Centre with big dreams of rising through the ranks to become the most important hair of all – a head hair. But first, he’s got to prove he’s got what it takes.
Along the way, we learn all the Hair Control workers’ dreams. One longs to wear a wig like Marie Antoinette; another fantasises about having floor-length waves like Rapunzel. There are menacing demon barbers, disco-dancing hair follicles and blizzards of dandruff. There’s even some science thrown in for good measure. Altogether, it is a hair-lariously exhaustive exploration of its subject.
The cast is dressed in skin-tight, coloured Lycra, designed by Lucy Bradridge, giving them the freedom to contort and flail about. There’s a customised performance of Fat Boy Slim’s Right Here, Right Now – with the word here changed to hair, of course. And Bradridge’s set, lit by Rajiv Pattani, is animated by a rainbow of textures and colours. Audience participation is deftly handled. The cast gently pokes fun at our hairstyles, and give us a salon pampering. First, comes the washing, which involves us being sprayed with water. Then, shampoo made out of bubbles is blown about, and a giant hair-mousse canister explodes onstage. Every detail you can imagine is mischievously recreated.
Not every joke lands, but this is one of the most ingenious kids’ shows around right now. Underneath all the absurd mania, there’s even a message about accepting one another for whatever we are. If you have little ones – and whether they’re in need of a haircut or not – you’d be mad to miss it.