Retail Therapy @ Wonderland Festival Review

Published in Arts News  
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If it hasn't got a price tag on it, does that mean it's free? Cassandra Croucher – alter ego CeCe – is sick of working in retail, and she lets Brisbane Powerhouse's Leopard Lounge know in the most theatrical and hilarious ways possible.

Armed with a price gun and a smug attitude, CeCe launches into musical theatre classics like 'At The End Of The Day' from 'Les Miserables', 'Turn It Off' from 'The Book Of Mormon' and 'One Short Day' from 'Wicked'.

The songs in the show aren't featuring the lyrics you may be familiar with, however. CeCe reworks them with new verses and choruses that ring true to the retail-working life: “I see you leaving your clothes in the changing room and I'm like 'well f*ck you!'”.

CeCe's relevant observations make the audience explode into fits of laughter time after time: “Excuse me ma'am! That's not where you found that item, is it?”/“If we're smiling, it's not because we're happy, or we like you. It's because we're dying inside.”


A photo posted by scenestr (@scenestr) on Nov 26, 2016 at 1:19am PST

For most of the show, CeCe is on edge and wide-eyed, as she tells the tales of her behind-the-counter life. There are some parts, however, that see her reflecting on certain things in a calm and thoughtful way.

Whichever way she communicates, it always ends up side-splitting: “every Thursday, I see the love of my life. When he comes to drop off the boxes of stock for Late Night.”

The show relies heavily on relatability, which means it has the potential to not make as much sense to some people as it does to others. In saying this, however, retail work is a universally-known struggle, so it would be hard to find someone who didn't understand this performance.

'Retail Therapy' is funny before the jokes even begin, thanks to Cassandra's ability to come across hysterical just in the way she uses the space: she folds and refolds clothes, picks up “$500 garments” from the floor hastily, and even walks through the middle of the audience, breaking the fourth wall and turning them into the customers that CeCe dreads day after day.

This performance deserves a bigger stage than the Leopard Lounge. If the title and premise aren't enough to draw in a crowd, the content is easily worthy of being shown at a much grander scale, to even more people that want a refund on their time working as a retail assistant.

★★★★☆ 1/2.

2018 AIR Awards Nominees Playlist


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