Review: Jane Hair, Bronte Restyled

Writer-director Kat Rose Martin, who also plays Emily.
Writer-director Kat Rose Martin, who also plays Emily.
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Reimagining the Brontes as modern-day Bradford hairdressers, writers Kirsty Smith and Kat Rose Martin give the story of the literary sisters’ path to fame an appealing makeover.

The play, popping up in three hair salons this week, works on several levels. The script contains plenty of sly ‘in jokes’ for Bronte aficionados to enjoy – Charlotte’s biographer Elizabeth Gaskell becomes bitchy gossip columnist ‘Lizzie G’, for example, and Anne’s blog is entitled ‘Wildfeller’ – but this is about making the Brontes accessible and the oft-told tale is delivered with great warmth and humour. While there are a lot of laughs to be had, the play also addresses the perennial problem of artists having to find ways of funding their creative endeavours. So, while they would much rather be spending their time writing, slam poet Emily, screenwriter Charlotte and blogger Anne have to work as stylists at Haworth Hair and Beauty, where their brother Branwell is their (lazy, slightly distracted) receptionist. There are times when, perhaps, the extended metaphor is stretched a little too far, but overall this is a hugely entertaining piece with sparky ensemble performances from Jeanette Percival as Charlotte, Kat Rose Martin as Emily, Rosie Fox as Anne and Ryan Greaves as Branwell. A cut above.

January 26 and 27. Details and tickets www.janehair.co.uk