Barber Shop Chronicles is a show 'punctuated with song and dance and whirlwind scene changes'

Barber Shop Chronicles is a show 'punctuated with song and dance and whirlwind scene changes'

credit: Marc Brenner

Performer Emmanuel Ighodaro discusses why Inua Ellams' play is such a joyous and riotous event

Having already sold out at the National Theatre in London, the debut of Barber Shop Chronicles in Scotland is freighted with expectations. Written by Inua Ellams, who Lyceum artistic director David Greig has called 'one of today's most exciting voices in poetry and theatre', it presents the barber shop as a place which African men have historically used as a 'newsroom, political platform, local hotspot, confession box, preacher-pulpit and football stadium'.

Performer Emmanuel Ighodaro says audience reactions to the show 'have been extremely upbeat: I've had audience members approach me and tell me how much the play evoked good and bad memories for them.' And while it expresses the voices of 12 men of colour, Ighodaro adds that 'the subjects addressed are universal, from father and son relationships to the politics of identity and belonging.'

While Ellams script has a poetic eloquence, and its location is distinctive, Ighodaro recognises that the dramaturgy has played a huge part in its success. 'The show is punctuated with song and dance and whirlwind scene changes that I can assure you have never been seen or done before in this way!'

'Inua's writing possesses the right balance of comedy and seriousness,' he continues. 'The audience are never allowed to completely relax and are constantly surprised which is why, in my humble opinion, it works so well. We can't wait to bring the show up north and I hope that the people of this beautiful city will join us in what will be a fun, joyous, and at times riotous event.'

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 9 Nov, and touring.

Barber Shop Chronicles

A new play by Inua Ellams, which moves the action from a barber shop in London to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos and Accra.

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