Shear Madness might be the longest-running play in the history of the American theater -- but the British adaptation, Scissor Happy, will only have had a 3 month run in London when it closes on 31 January 1998.
Described as a 'comedy thriller', Scissor Happy was adapted by Neil Mullarkey, Lee Simpson and Jim Sweeney for London audiences from Shear Madness by Bruce Jordan and Marilyn Abrahams.
The plot is about a murder that takes place above a hairdressing salon and the audience is asked to help solve the crime. It received mixed notices when it opened on 22 October 1997: The Daily Telegraph remarking that "no one could accuse Scissor Happy of being great drama but then it doesn't pretend to be. What it offers instead is an original, genuinely entertaining twist on the tired conventions of the theatrical whodunnit...I have a hunch that Scissor Happy will become an enduring feature in the West End."
The Times thought is was "jolly fun" while The Independent observed that "the show is far from intellectually watertight. But who cares? Sending you out into the night with a silly grin plastered all over your face, this is just the antidote for a 'bad hair day,' or even a 'bad hair life'."
But The London Evening Standard said "if you expect to find a night at the theatre an utter bore then you will not be disappointed by this comedy-thriller. For Scissor Happy in its own modest way offers the chance of a fabulously boring night out." Evidently London theatregoers agreed with The London Evening Standard and gave this comedy a miss.
Scissor Happy at the Duchess Theatre London, previewed 9 October, opened 22 October 1997, closes 31 January 1998 after a 15 week run.
-- By Paul Dixon
Albemarle of London's West End Theatre Guide