And Her Hair Went With Her

The barbershop has always held significance in the black community, a place where the gents gathered for haircuts and rapped about politics, sports, playing the horses and the latest neighborhood gossip. In Zina Cambin's diverting drama, a beauty salon run by Jasmine (Pam Trotter), and Angie (Tracie Thoms) is where it's happening — a laid-back establishment where relevant issues about the lives of black women are confronted with humor and poignancy. This human chemistry has some combustible elements, the most quizzical being the pairing of kindhearted Jasmine — a simple sort, laser-sharp with a joke or a putdown — and young, college-educated Angie, a single mom of imposing independence who frequently gets the best of her less-sophisticated associate. Yet there's no mistaking the love and respect these sisters feel for each other. For most of this hour-plus show, the ladies don wigs, channel the personas of their eccentric clientele and discuss weightier matters about what it means to be a black woman. The weak link in this otherwise entertaining show is that after a while, the shtick, and some of the characters depicted, aren't always engaging — a quibble that doesn't diminish the many energetic, skillful portrayals by these fine performers under Diane Rodriguez's astute direction. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: May 9. Continues through June 15, 2008

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