Ruby Rouge Hair Salon takes centre stage as Festival venue

Ruby Rouge owner Rosalind Temple will be stepping aside to let actors take over her salon every night.  Picture: Neil Hanna
Ruby Rouge owner Rosalind Temple will be stepping aside to let actors take over her salon every night. Picture: Neil Hanna
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IT can be a hair-raising experience competing for audiences with more than 3000 shows in Edinburgh in August.

But one show already has a head start after launching an early claim as the quirkiest venue at this year’s Fringe.

Over the years I’ve sat in hairdressers’ chairs for what would probably amount to months of my life. In those chairs, which are like part-time confessionals, I have laughed, cried and shared some of my darkest secrets.

Beth Granville

The theatre company behind new comedy Foiled is hoping that staging it in a working hair salon will leave it a cut above the rest.

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The Ruby Rouge Hair Salon, on South Clerk Street, will host nightly performances of Foiled – a show set in a fictional hairdressers – before a maximum audience of 25 each night.

Inspired by the conversations struck in hair salons across the country, Foiled is being staged by the new Welsh-based company Duckspeak, formed by comedy writers Beth Granville and David Charles.

Audiences are promised “big hair, satirical comedy and sing-along show tunes” in the free hour-long show, which follows events which unfold when a bald out-of-work actor arrives for a makeover.

But the two writers say Foiled will also pack a political punch by looking at the “everyday lives of ordinary people” and the “trials of life under austerity”.

Each performance will be played out before an intimate audience seated in the salon waiting area and treatment chairs – a move the two writers say will lend “stand-out authenticity” to the production.

Ms Granville said: “The characters and the story came first – we then thought how great it would be if we could stage it in an actual salon so we came up to Edinburgh to try to find the right venue.

“Over the years I’ve sat in hairdressers’ chairs for what would probably amount to months of my life. In those chairs, which are like part-time confessionals, I have laughed, cried and shared some of my darkest secrets.

“With more mirrors than a fun house and sharp objects in such perilous proximity to people’s heads, the stakes are always high. Love or hate a trip to the hairdressers, everyone who’s been to one has a story and I’m excited to tell mine.”

The use of the Ruby Rouge Hair Salon this August follows the deployment of an array of weird and wonderful venues for Fringe shows in recent years.

Others have played out in bars, public toilets, telephone boxes, the back of a taxi, private flats and even department stores.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Fringe shows have gone on sale early ahead of the official programme launch in early June.

Fans of BBC Scotland comedies Burnistoun and Limmy’s Show can catch stars Robert Florence and Brian Limond on stage in Edinburgh this summer. Eastenders star Johnny Labey, who plays Paul Coker in the soap, will be at the Fringe depicting the Second World War poet Rupert Brooke.

Cabaret star Camille O’Sullivan will be tackling hits by Radiohead, David Bowie, Nick Cave and Tom Waits in Underbelly’s Circus Hub venue.

brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk