Theatre review: Hair I am


HELEN Cuinn is one of Glasgow's growing army of young performance artists; and once, at the Arches, I heard her deliver a monologue that seemed to contain the germ of a serious piece of theatre – something about genetics and belonging, place and identity.

To judge by this latest show, though – created by Cuinn as an invited artist at the Glasgay! Festival – she now urgently needs to move her work on from the ghetto of brief experimental performance, into something more ambitious and outward-looking.

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Hair I Am is performed on a stage coloured entirely in shades of orange and red, and strewn with a range of red clothes and shoes; and in this alluringly weird space, Cuinn investigates the cultural meanings attached to red-headedness in our society.

For 45 minutes, she plays around with huge wigs, sings the theme song from Annie, and does some red-haired rap.

She also shows film of two fictional street interviews with redheads, in which she niggles away at the resonant question of whether having a physical characteristic like red hair automatically creates a sense of affinity with other redheads.

But that, folks, is about it. And it's high time someone encouraged this gifted writer and performer to sit down at her desk and have a go at writing a two-act play; if only because in mastering that technique, she would earn the right to break up and challenge conventional theatrical forms in much more purposeful ways, and in front of a far wider audience.