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Scissor Happy

This is a delightful comedy with some hilarious scenes and wonderful characters. The story concerns a murder in a hairdressing salon, however the difference in this show is that the audience are asked to help solve the crime!

An annoying woman above a hair salon is murdered with a pair of hairdressing scissors. Who killed her? The answer is one of the people in the salon at the time of her death. We know this because the building was under police surveillance as she had earlier received a death threat.

When the police arrive on the scene, there is some great interaction with the audience. The inspector gets the audience involved by asking them to shout out if any of the suspects lie when giving evidence. The audience are also allowed to question the suspects and in the end are asked to vote on who they think the killer is. This is an interesting concept, because the ending of the play is dictated by how the audience vote.

The plot is full of holes and is not at all well thought out. However this does not matter because the main thrust is to create comedy through audience participation, and here the show succeeds!

Another good thing about the show is that you are not intimidated, or forced to participate if you do not wish to. If you are like me, and do not like to get involved, then it is not a problem just to sit back and laugh with everybody else, as the cast will not bother you.

The show has brought together a wonderful cast, all convincing in their roles. Paul Clayton is 'Tony', a camp hairdresser and the manager of the Salon. He is simply sensational in the role. He has some of the best lines and has a wonderful delivery, a very funny man indeed. He is followed closely by Gaye Brown, as 'Mrs Fitzcarrington', a snobbish, loud woman who is married to a top executive. Again, she too has a strong presence on stage, and creates lots of laughs. Lee Simpson, who is also the co-adapter of the play, is Coughlan, the police inspector. He communicates with the audience with ease and produces some very dry humour. Kim Wall as 'Doug' the undercover police officer and Nicola Stapleton as ' Barbara', another hairdresser, are also competent. So too is Jon Huyton, as 'Eddie Lawrence', Barbara's boyfriend.

NICHOLAS DE JONGH of THE EVENING STANDARD did not like the show at all. He starts his review like this "If you expect to find a night at the theatre an utter bore then you will not be disappointed by this comedy-thriller." The headline to his review reads, "Not so much whodunnit as who cares". (Never before have I disagreed so much about a review!!) However, BRIAN LOGAN of THE STAGE says it is a "teasing and generous night of interactive sleuthery and laughs." BILL HAGERTY of THE NEWS OF THE WORLD said the first act was a "Bad hair day" but goes on to say the show is really funny when the audience becomes involved. CHARLES SPENCER of THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, " the show is "Engaging" and "Good-Humoured".

The show is aimed at a British audience, so some Americans may not catch some of the jokes. However, this should not spoil their enjoyment.

Scissor Happy is a show with a difference, which helps to keep the West End as diverse as ever. It is a show that is well worth seeing, a show that will brighten up your day, a show deserving to stay in the West End a long time.

(Darren Dalglish)

Originally published on

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