Friday, 21 May 2004

Beehive, May 21, 2004

 Beehives and Brylcreem by Aubergine Theatre 
Next Wave Festival
 Hairroom 55 Hardware Lane, 21 to 29 May, 2004
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

The Hairroom Salon in Hardware Lane is decked with 60's memorabilia for Beehives and Brylcreem

After the last blow-dry and colour, Aubergine Theatre transforms the salon into a small, unconventional performance space. Audience members perch on salon chairs surrounded by salon mirrors. Two volunteers take pride of place in the hairdresser's chairs.

They endure seventy-five minutes of combing and brylcreeming for the man, or teasing and spraying for the woman. The results are comical.

Maria (Robin McMicking) is a very fussy and bigoted Greek migrant who owns the salon and confuses English song lyrics.
Gail, (Juanita Pope) her apprentice, is a young Australian woman with dreams of being a glamorous television weather girl.

Maria's cousin, Tony, (Nick Verginis) does the men's hair and preens in front of the mirror, dreaming of his expensive new jacket from Myers. mDean Martin plays on the old wireless and images of a 60's self-help book are projected onto the wall.

Occasionally the characters break into rather awkward song routines. The play purports to deal with difference, migration and bigotry in both the 60's and the present. The simple story of Maria's mistrust of Gail and Gail's naïve misunderstanding of Maria could be effective by itself.

The problem is that director, Sarah Austin, slows the show at points to a snail's pace, with inappropriate freezes and unnecessary silences. The attempts to link current political issues such as the War on Terror with Australia under Menzies in the 60's are clumsy.

Verginis plays with relish the vain, Greek stallion, Tony. McMicking has a compelling presence as Maria and Pope makes the most of Gail's childlikeness.

The design concept (E­leni Gogos) and choice of location are the most successful element of the production. On one wall is a poster of Rock Hudson, Opposite are magazine pictures of Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis. Lamps, plastic flowers and lace table runners and even an old cash register make the picture complete. Costumes are not suite so accurate or well fitting in Gail's case.

The show may be slow but it is entertaining despite not quite achieving its aim of social commentary.

LOOK FOR: The merciless teasing of the female volunteer's hair.

By Kate Herbert

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