If you haven’t watched this Irish comedy yet on Netflix you need to get your head checked! Written and directed by Rachel Carey, this ensemble comedy stars upcoming Irish actors as well as established performers, centering around a local hair salon in fictional Piglinstown in Dublin’s Northside.
Michelle (Angeline Ball) runs Deadly Cuts, a hair salon in Piglinstown. Stacey (Ericka Roe) works at the salon and has big dreams for the place. She enters herself, Michelle, Gemma (Lauren Larkin) and Chantelle (Shauna Higgins) into the ‘Ah, Hair’ tournament where they will battle to be the top hair salon in the country. Unfortunately for the girls, a local gang led by Deano (Ian-Lloyd Anderson) who terrorises the town targets the salon and almost puts them out of business. Meanwhile, a local councillor wants to shut down the whole town to ‘get rid’ of the gang, meaning Michelle and the gang are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They may have to go to deadly measures to keep their place of work and Piglinstown alive!
In my opinion every county in Ireland should have an ensemble comedy show or duo. Cork has the Young Offenders, Mayo has the Hardy Bucks and Tipperary have the 2 Johnnies. Limerick had the Rubberbandits for a while but now they’re class at hurling so they don’t need funny ambassadors. They just have a squad of athletic machines.
Of course, Dublin had a stranglehold on the Sam Maguire for so long that people were content to let Mrs. Brown’s Boys be their comedic output to the world. However, since watching Deadly Cuts I insist that the ladies from the best salon in Piglinstown replace Brendan O’Carroll and co and become the face of Dublin comedy.
Irish cinema and television has had a Love/Hate, if you’ll pardon the pun, relationship with crime and drama over the past decade. Following the rise of the aforementioned Dublin gangland drama following the exploits of Darren, Nidge and Johnboy there have been countless films and television shows trying to play the same tune as creator Stuart Carolan. Some efforts have been good (Calm With Horses) while others could have been a lot better (Cardboard Gangsters).
Amidst this obsession with telling stories of young people living in crime-ridden towns and villages one genre has slipped through the cracks. Comedy is not something you see much of in Irish cinema. For a nation of witty charmers and impressive speakers we tend to make movies that feature a lot of death. Even our comedies are mainly of the romantic variety and usually have two lead actors that can’t do an Irish accent (I’m looking at you Wild Mountain Thyme).
A case could be made for The Guard but even there (spoiler alert) most of the main cast die.
It has been a long time since I sat down and watched an Irish comedy film (not television) and just been swept up in the, well, comedy of it all. Father Ted and Hardy Bucks are some examples I would use; pure comedy that isn’t affected by thought and sentiment. Thought and sentiment might feature slightly in this hilarious film from writer and director Rachel Carey, but the focus is laughs, shocks and then some more laughs.
Dialogue is a must in any Irish comedy. Quips and responses need to be hot out of the oven as characters banter and slag each other. Irish content creator Enya Martin (Giz a Laugh) has a fantastic cameo as the lewd and crass Linsey who fills the hairdressers in on her dirty escapades with a posh boy from D4.
Roe’s Stacey has plenty of classic one-liners too while poor Chantelle is the butt of everyone’s joke.
The story moves along at a nice pace and the jokes come thick and fast. Ericka Roe is hilarious as Stacey, the quick witted and hot tempered stylist who will do whatever it takes to win the competition.
Ian-Lloyd Anderson is surprisingly scary and realistic as the unhinged Deano who is wreaking havoc on the beleaguered people of Piglinstown.
There is a fantastic mish-mash of Irish acting talent that appears in this movie, as well as some famous faces.
Angeline Ball, who is most famous for her turn as the wonderful Imelda Quirke in The Commitments, plays Michelle, and shows she still has some great performances in her.
Victoria Smurfitt, another famous Irish actress, plays Michelle’s nemesis, Pippa, who has a South Dublin accent so strong you can taste the silver spoon.
Pauline McLynn, best known as Mrs. Doyle from Father Ted, and Rory Nolan, the face and voice of Ross O’Carroll Kelly in the plays and podcast, play two judges in the ‘Ah Hair’ competition. Pretentiousness and alcoholism drip from them in a hilarious double act.
Although this cameo might be a bit more obscure, if you grew up in Ireland in the mid-2000s, you probably watched a few episodes of Pat Shortt’s Killinaskully. The classic Irish comedy that lampooned the lives of a small village of large characters features Louis Lovett as Dieter Langer, a German tourist falls in love with a local lady. In this flick he plays the boozed up and drug addled D’Logan Doyle, famous hair stylist. He is hilarious in both roles.
However, nothing can take away from the performances of the leading ladies. Ericka Roe made the Irish Examiner Ones to Watch list for 2022. Lauren Larking and Shauna Higgins might not have the same star power as Roe, but they hold their own alongside the burgeoning star and amongst such Irish film royalty as Angeline Ball.
While you mightn’t ponder any philosophical truths after watching this movie, you know why you want to watch it: it’s great fun, the dialogue is snappy and funny and the plot is solid enough for you to be entertained for an hour and a half.
It has been a long decade of fictitious gang feuds and ‘gangsters’ making their way in Ireland. Maybe it is time to live on the lighter side for a while.
Deadly Cuts is streaming on Netflix now 🙂