Through rippling waves of hairspray, bathed in neon limelight, we enter into the cartoon dream that is Pamela’s Palace. The salon, which utterly transforms Assembly’s Box venue, is gaudy and bright, all around kitschy, and reminiscent of a low-budget sitcom. But, compared to its outrageous employees, Pamela’s Palace is as tame as your local Greggs.

First comes Tiffany, and she is everything you want out of a hairdresser: loud, raunchy, messy, and loves to start a bit of drama. In fact, she’s got a terrible secret that threatens to bring the entire salon tumbling down in an explosion of split ends! Next is Bronwen, the shy, Australian expat who knows more sheep than humans, but holds a fierce ambition to rise from the ranks of sweeping the floor all the way to cutting your hair!

Then finally comes the self-proclaimed star of the show—the Gypsy Rose of hairdressing—our very own Pamela! She may be half a century, but with a face caked and baked with any product imaginable… well, you’ll still be able to tell. But, as Pamela so poetically reminds us, that’s okay! Pamela, although so very dedicated to reigning supreme in her salon business, must come to the impossible realisation that embracing yourself might mean taking a more… natural approach?

But, not only will you get to know the crazy staff of Pamela’s Palace, you’ll also see glimpses of their actors trying desperately to compose themselves throughout the outrageous performance. These three don’t only manage to create their own strikingly individual, flamboyant characters, but also create a magnificent ensemble by gossiping about love, breaking into Fosse dance routines, and preparing for the great salon competition.

That’s not where they’ll stop though, because Pamela’s Palace is always in need of new customers. That’s right, grow out your fringe and let your roots show, because Pamela’s doors are always open, ready for a ring. In fact, the brassy chime of her doorbell will quite literally get you jumping from seat to seat—and maybe even into her salon chair! Just don’t play it safe, because Pamela will pull you up for a primp or a curl whether you’re stage-shy or not!

Overall, Tiffany, Bronwen, and Pamela are a fresh, comedic force that take the best of classic slapstick, dirty modern comedy, and interactive performance to deliver a completely uninhibited and endearingly unpolished showstopper. So, whether you’re in need of a trim or a laugh, Interactive Theatre International’s Pamela’s Palace is truly a cut above the rest.

Ian is ecstatic to be reviewing at Edinburgh Fringe again this year and being exposed to all sorts of worldly talent and performance.

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