From the moment audiences enter the theatre to see Inua Ellams’ Barber Shop Chronicles, they are caught up in the spirit of the show, with some invited on stage for a (pretend) haircut. It ends with a dance sequence in which everyone is invited to boogie with the cast. 

Barber Shop Chronicles Barber Shop Chronicles . Photo: supplied. 

A UK co-production from Fuel, the National Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Guardianfound it an “invigorating play, which shows how barbers’ shops, run by and catering for African men, combine the roles of pub and political platform, social centre and soapbox. It makes the average white British male’s belief that you simply go in for a haircut look decidedly dreary.” The Financial Timescalled it “an absolute cracker… funny, fast, laced with music and dance… But deep down this is also a thoughtful, serious and moving piece of theatre.”

A sold-out hit when it premiered at London’s National Theatre in June this year, Barber Shop Chroniclesreturned there for a season in November. Now the play is coming to both the Sydney and Perth Festivals.

Set in April 2012, on...