Clockwise from left: B.J. Cleveland, Bradley Campbell and Sherry Hopkins in <em>Shear Madness</em> at Theatre Three

Review: Shear Madness | Theatre Three

Follicle Follies

In Theatre Three's Theatre Too! space, Shear Madness is hair-raising hilarity.

published Thursday, May 22, 2014

Photo: Jeffrey Schmidt
The cast of Shear Madness at Theatre Three

Dallas — Plan on arriving early at Theatre Three's Shear Madness. This relentlessly manic comedy whodunit features some pre-show foolery that shouldn't be missed.

And don't stray too far during intermission. That's when cast member Bradley Campbell strolls into the snug lobby of the basement Theatre Too space, pen and notebook in hand, and announces: “All right, folks, I'm ready to hear some theories.”

Bradley portrays Police Lt. Nick O'Brien, who is investigating the murder that took place midway through Act I. The gimmick of this comedy is that the identity of the killer is determined by audience vote. Audience members also question the suspects.

Obviously, then, the play's outcome can change with each performance. So, in fact, does the actor/playgoer badinage. So what's essential here is a cast capable of taking creative detours from the script. Director Marty Van Kleeck, herself a gifted comic actor, has assembled a superb ensemble skilled in improv, but with a sense of how far—and long—to take the insanity.

The setting is the Shear Madness hair salon in Dallas. (The locale usually matches the city where a given production is playing.) In the pre-show frenzy we watch B.J. Cleveland, as stylist Tony Whitcomb, attack the hair of David Meglino, as customer Eddie. The blow-drying brutality, and the phone calls, are done in mime. Once the play starts, the actors find their voices and unleash a torrent of malapropisms. One character is accused of being a "congenital liar." Another says “Lesbianese” instead of “Lebanese.” And you can guess what they do with the name of cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Gene Raye Price bustles around the snug stage as a society matron who may be an adulteress. Sherry Hopkins is a stylist who bends the script creatively. And Matthew Clark bungles engagingly as the junior detective on the case. He had some trouble with his sidearm opening night. It will be interesting to see if director Van Kleeck decides to retain the mishap.

All of the cast members interact with the audience, remaining in character during intermission. Cleveland interacts more than others. It's apparent that he strays the farthest from the script, but he does it quite well.

Local references abound. You want a lawyer joke? How about one that also tips the hat to Sue Loncar, majordoma of Contemporary Theatre of Dallas.

Jac Alder's set is bright and busy. Ditto the costumes, designed by Van Kleeck.

The play, which has been running for decades in Boston, was originally a psychological exercise designed to demonstrate perceptions of reality. Marilyn Abrams and Bruce Jordan adapted Paul Portner's script for the stage.

It's a merry bit of mayhem. Thanks For Reading

Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
Follicle Follies
In Theatre Three's Theatre Too! space, Shear Madness is hair-raising hilarity.
by Perry Stewart

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :