The weather has been wacky in Maine, with temperatures erratically bouncing from record lows to record highs, but for the next eight weeks the forecast is to “dye” for at Good Theater in Portland. Expect a shower of laughs as “Shear Madness” returns to the stage with cutting-edge comedy and ever-changing new jokes ripped from the headlines.

Kathleen Kimball (Barbara DeMarco), Conor Riordan Martin (Mikey Thomas), Paul Drinan (Eddie Lawrence), Timothy C. Goodwin (Nick O’Brien) and Laura Houck (Mrs. Shubert) are back as the madcap cast, with Joe Bearor replacing Michael Wood as the flamboyant beautician Tony Whitcomb. They interact with precision that’s disguised as spontaneity, dropping zinger after zinger.

“Shear Madness” draws viewers into its laugh-inducing insanity, placing the audience as voyeurs to the action unfolding at the Shear Madness hair salon run by Barbara and Tony. Scenic artist Cheryl Dolan has realized Steve Underwood’s set design, vibrantly rendering the eye-catching striped walls to match the functional teal salon furniture.

Activity unceremoniously erupts onstage while the audience is still buzzing with pre-show chatter. As if on mute, the characters go about their business for the first 10 minutes, bopping to a soundtrack that includes “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls and the entertainingly timed “YMCA” by The Village People. Without audible dialogue, the cast relies on comic facial expressions and outrageous antics to get the laughs flowing freely, like the water at a salon shampoo chair.

The cast of “Shear Madness”: Paul Drinan, Conor Martin, Joe Bearor, Laura Houck, Kathleen Kimball and Tim Goodwin. Photo courtesy of Good Theater

It was a comic free-for-all Friday night as Bearor’s Tony flittered about the salon, distractedly washing and cutting Mikey’s hair and entertainingly attempting to shave Nick. Martin and Goodwin, as Mikey and Nick, fueled the laughter with priceless facial expressions, while Kimball provided bawdy humor as Barbara, and Drinan and Houck offered the finishing funny touches as Eddie and Mrs. Shubert.

The addition of dialogue added comedic highlights, with the cast referencing local places like Commercial Street, Buxton and Marden’s, all the while dishing out laugh-out-loud commentary on hot-button topics and people, like President Trump, the Clintons, Matt Lauer, Justin Trudeau and fake news.

“Pretend you’re on Fox News. Turn to the far right,” Tony quipped, eliciting laughter Friday.

Along with being a laugh fest, “Shear Madness” is an interactive whodunit that’s downright addictive. When a murder is revealed, all eyes turn to the audience to help solve the case and reconstruct the events thus far. And the action doesn’t stop during intermission. Audience members cornered Goodwin’s Nick in the lobby Friday to offer theories and insight, while the rest of the cast remained in character onstage, interacting with those still seated in the theater. The air sizzled with excitement that culminated in the audience voting for who the murderer was and the ultimate plot reveal.

Good Theater’s “Shear Madness” is a surefire way to brighten the winter blues. It features a cast that is quick on its feet and delivers the witty dialogue with pizzazz. And with multiple possible endings and new jokes added regularly, it warrants seeing more than once.

April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco. Contact her at:

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Twitter: @ahboyle