SummerWorks review: Hot Cuts


HOT CUTS by Aurora Stewart de Pena (Birdtown and Swanville). At Toronto Media Arts Centre Gamma Workspace. Aug 18 at 5:30 and 8 pm, Aug 19 at 5:30 pm. See listing. Rating: NNN

Thanks to the SummerWorks Lab, an initiative which showcases new works still in development, we get a sneak peek at this promising new comedy from writer and director Aurora Stewart de Pena thats set in a 1980s mall hair salon.

The action follows visionary stylist Mikhail (Andy Cheng) and his dour associate Anita (Rebecca Applebaum) as they plan a bold new life-changing coiffure for regular client Linda (Naomi Skwarna). Tangles emerge when their weirdo apprentice Romaine (William Ellis) shows up and takes matters into his own hands, spurring a rivalry of epic proportions.

Stewart de Penas funny script pokes fun at this self-absorbed fashion subculture in a way similar to Zoolander, but also probes the different ways workers and clients craft grandiose meaning for themselves and each other in the simple act of sitting for a haircut.

With a strong cast and fabulous retro set, costume and sound design, Hot Cuts is well along the development track and could pass for a finished piece pretty easily. Moving forward, Stewart de Pena should consider ramping up the pace a little (which would make sense given the big, bright personalities of the characters) and also introducing the stakes which eventually emerge a little earlier in the story.

As a work-in-progress, Hot Cuts makes the cut, offering a glimpse into a funny and intriguing world we cant wait to see more of.



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