The Haircut – The Ark – Review
by Lesley-Ann Whelan
from 10th October- 2nd November
The Ark presents the world premiere of a brand-new show by Wayne Jordan & Tom Lane for Ages 8+. Labhraidh Loingseach, the ruler of the land, has a secret. He wears his hair long and he has it cut only once a year. Once a year on the same night in the same place and in the same style, but never by the same barber. The barber is chosen by a lottery where the name of every man in the land is entered and once chosen you cannot refuse. The day before the haircut the man chosen is treated like a prince and trained to give the haircut in precise detail. The day after the haircut, the barber is executed so that the king’s secret dies with him.
The Haircut is a cautionary tale with a live musical soundtrack. The Haircut is a fairytale remixed and retold. The Haircut is a play about secrets and about creativity stifled. About fighting for what you believe in and standing up to power. About music and magic and hair. Set in a magical modern-day Ireland, The Haircut is a new commission written by Wayne Jordan, delivered with ineffable charm by bright new talent Thommas Kane Byrne and accompanied by Tom Lane’s vibrant score played by Nicola Ciccarelli, Lioba Petrie and Berginald Rash.
When we entered the theatre, we were met with a large collection of different musical instruments surrounding a barber’s chair. The Haircut is like a contemporary Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, with the music being an integral part of the narrative. Thommas Kane Byrne takes on the part of narrator and creates all the different characters in this cautionary tale. This is a mammoth task, with each character having a different voice and accent and sometimes this trips him up which goes to show how difficult this part is.
There seemed to be as many adults as children in the audience at the performance I attended and they all thoroughly enjoyed it, which shows it can hold the attention of both adult and younger audience members. It is recommended for ages 8+ and I think that is really because of the attention that is required to follow the narrative. Definitely the toddler that was brought to it yesterday was having none of it and had to be taken out twice, which was distracting for other audience members. This play is suited to children interested in mythology, music and storytelling.
The Haircut runs from 10th October- 2nd November.