Haircuts tells the story of two men: Costa (Adam Hatzimanolis) the Greek barber and Stanley (Richard Hilliar), a young Australian man who is torn between his new wife and ailing father.

Set in the barber shop, Costa reigns supreme, he gives his customers advice while shooing his wife and daughter to the background. There is a dark cloud on the horizon though: a new mall is being built in the neighbourhood which threatens Costa and the other local businesses.

Director Lex Marinos describes Haircuts as a gentle play, which is half true. Haircuts evolves over two acts and eventually becomes a gentle play, but during both acts there are a number of not so gentle and in fact quite raucous scenes, when the men engage in loud and spirited arguments that are meant to be typical displays of Mediterranean machismo. They are in stark contrast to the Australian Stanley and his father's exchanges, which are brief and comparatively devoid of colour.

Haircuts features fine performances by all and Adam Hatzimanolis is a stand out as Costa. He plays the Greek patriarch with a belligerent air, he becomes the sexist, bullying Costa with ease. Barbara Gouskos and Demitra Alexandria play Costa's long suffering wife and daughter, who are used to being relegated to the sidelines by the domineering Costa . Richard Hilliar is excellent as Stanley, who in search of the perfect haircut, finds something of a father figure in Costa. Yet Hilliar’s Stanley is the antithesis of Costa, soft spoken and determined to make a connection with his emotionally remote real father.

There was some inspired silliness in Haircuts: Valentino Arico and John Derum (and Lynden Jones as he subbed for Derhum for several shows) played Italian barbers who join forces with Costa and their appearance is farcical in bad wigs and cheesy Italian tandem dialogue.

My problem with Haircuts was that the play seemed to be suffering from an identity crisis. It starts out as a broad comedy in the Medite-Straynian style, but act two ushers in several long scenes of intense pathos, where the comedy is light on the ground and we are confronted with human frailty as Costa and Stanley's father each have health issues. In straddling extremely broad comedy and drama, Haircuts sabotages itself, and the action becomes uneven.

Still, a moving story which Marinos and Nats can improve on by toning down some
of the broader comedy in the story.

Featuring: Adam Hatzimanolis, John Derum, Richard Hilliar, Barbara Gouskos, Demitra Alexandria, Valentino Arico, Tim Ressos and Lynden Jones.

Creative Team: Lex Marinos (director), Con Nats, Rachel Scane, Larry Kelly Lighting and Tom Massey.

Haircuts in on until 26 April, for tickets see:

This Month in Sydney

8 - 26 January

Sydney Festival

Sydney – various

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Every January, Sydney Festival starts the new year with a bang, transforming the city with a bold cultural celebration based on critical ideas and cutting-edge art and performance.

More than any other cultural event, Sydney Festival defines Sydney’s personality. For over four decades we have presented international artists who guarantee headlines, and whose presence in Sydney adds to the Festival’s buzz and prestige, including names like Björk, Brian Wilson, Grace Jones, Manu Chao, Elvis Costello, AR Rahman, Cate Blanchett, Ralph Fiennes, Robert Lepage, The Flaming Lips, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Peter Sellars, Sir Ian McKellen and David Byrne & St. Vincent. Some of the world’s great companies – Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance, Cheek by Jowl, Gate Theatre and The Wooster Group to name only a few – also share the Festival with the most exciting artists and companies in Australia.

Sydney Festival’s audacious contemporary programming positions it at the forefront of arts practice in Australia and up there as one of the most wonderful festivals in the world. (from Sydney Festival website)