When I got inside the Barbers, the place was absolutely crowded. They had several rows of seats, some on the top level and some on the bottom level, and I couldn't tell how the hairdresser was going to get around to all these people before the night was out. Besides, most of the people looked as if they'd already had their hair cut, and shampooed, and combed, and dried, before coming to the Barbers. What the hell kind of avant-garde hairdressers was this anyway, where the customers got their hair cut before coming to the Barbers? I started to feel pretty uncomfortable; I don't like these newfangled hairdressing salons much. You never know what's expected of you.
Just as I was looking around at all the people crowded around me, I noticed right in front of the seats was a stage and orchestra that were tuning up. And heck, while their hair looked a bit more dishevelled and in need of cutting, it was nowhere near the same level of dishevellement as my hair, which is never naturally shevelled anyway. But I was pretty much blown away by the fact that this 'Barber of Seville' had a freaking orchestra.
Anyway, after about ten minutes of me looking around, a pair of red curtains that had been fallen down on the stage were raised, and the orchestra started noodling away on the most divine piece of muzak it has ever been my misfortune to hear. (And just between you and me, let me tell you that I've had much worse misfortunes than this orchestra). A guy in a suit walked on stage and for no reason at all, started singing to the wall. I noticed that he didn't have much hair on his head. Actually, he was positively bald. Well, I thought, that can't be a bad sign; shows this Barber (whoever he may be) was pretty thorough.
So the orchestra (and I still hadn't worked out why the heck they were there) were vamping away pretty nicely; and one or two other characters came on stage, though I didn't really get much of a look at their hair at first, because most of them were wearing big hats. I got a bit distracted at this point by the orchestra, because the cellos started getting out of time, and the violins (for once) started getting in time. It was pretty strange having a Barber hire an orchestra in the first place, but a third-rate orchestra? I mean, if you're going to get a symphony orchestra for NO FREAKING REASON AT ALL and put it in the middle of your late-night hairdressing salon, why not hang the expense and get the Vienna Philharmonic?
After a little while, a couple of women started coming on stage. I can't say I'm an expert in women's hairstyles, but they seemed to be done pretty well; the younger of them had a perm, and the older had it done up in a kind of bun. Fair enough, I thought; this Barber is a unisex kind of guy. Just so long as he gets around to doing my hair at some point.
At which point, the Barber actually did come on. Finally, I thought; at last, we're going to get some hair-cutting action around here. Nope; apparently not. For some bizarre reason - perhaps it was something in the air tonight, perhaps it was merely a momentary fit of insanity that came this Barber guy at the same time every night - he decided to join in the singing. And what a singer he was! He carolled on for, seemingly, ages about none other but himself!
It was at this point that I have to admit, my heart broke; I despaired of ever getting my hair cut. I still don't quite know what it was that kept me there. Maybe it was out of a stubborn desire, having paid my twenty dollars to get my hair cut, to stay until the end, and perhaps assault the Barber afterwards for a job badly done. Or maybe it was because some of the music was actually quite pleasant.
All in all, I have to say, this was one of my more unpleasant hairdressing experiences. Out of a rating system of five snips, five being perfect, no snips being terrible, I'd have to give this particular Barber two snips. He did actually make an appearance and some of the music was nicely done, although I'm not a fan of the avant garde hairdressing experience as a whole. I probably wouldn't go again, that is, unless a really big
Next time, I think I'll stick to the Coburg hairdressers. Or maybe I'll give that new Spanish salon in St Kilda a go. It's called 'Un Salon Andalou', it's run by a very well-known hairdresser called Dali, and apparently only the occasional eyeball gets sliced in the way of a trim and a shave ...
HAIRDRESSER NAME: The Barber of Seville
LOCATION: Athaneum Theatre, Collins Street
RATING: Two snips out of five.
UPDATE! - Slightly more serious review in comments.