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Review - Retail therapy: Tale of a shop girl

Retail Therapy

Produced by Cassandra Croucher

The Leopard Lounge

Brisbane Powerhouse

New Farm

Season runs until November 27. Bookings :

Those who have experienced the pain that is working in retail will understand what it is to have to work through the day, smiling away for the customers yet slowly dying inside. At least, that is what Cassandra Croucher depicts in her one-woman show, Retail Therapy – a part of the Wonderland series currently on at the Powerhouse.

Following the story of CeCe, the audience is met with an exasperated, hopeless soul who bitterly regrets her life choices, such as dropping out of university.

The show is peppered with adaptations of popular songs from the pop and musical theatre genres such as Wicked, The Book of Mormon, Disney’s The Little Mermaid and many more. This provided the audience with quite a few delighted laughs and the odd applause from time to time.

Croucher did a good job of commanding the stage with plenty of energy and charisma; she has what it takes to be a “rising star” of cabaret. The script had moments of wittiness and charm with some reflective, more serious moments, to round out the comedy and constant griping of the character CeCe.

A memorable moment was when she produced a megaphone and, within the script, started to berate customers for things like leaving clothes in the change rooms. Her interaction with the audience was also amusing, as she got some to fold clothes for her, or to demonstrate how her beau, the delivery man, behaved or even just to stick price tags on some unsuspecting members.

Another memorable moment was when CeCe began telling the audience about “fitting room terrorists” and encountered gory details of people leaving disgusting things in change rooms.

This had the audience laughing and clapping in their seats and provided one of the funniest moments in the show. Retail Therapy is also of a good length, as it lasted for less than an hour. The Leopard Lounge, its location, is an intimate space, seating less than 50 people. This provided an atmosphere of closeness and a tight-knit feel which made the show that little bit more relatable.

One noticeable flaw in the show was the fact that Croucher seemed unable to maintain perfectly accurate pitch with her accompanist and reasons for this could be many, such as nerves or a fatigued voice.

Despite this, her singing voice was charismatic and charming and worthy of competing with the rest of the musical theatre performers of Brisbane. Another occurrence to note was that the mics seemed to stop working half-way through the show; however, we were notified beforehand that there had been some technical issues with them.

Nevertheless, Croucher’s manner and energy made up for any errors and the enthusiasm of the audience was in turn, encouraging.

Retail Therapy is a feel-good show, and those among the audience who haven’t had the unfortunate pleasure to work in retail, were still able to sympathise. The show demonstrated Croucher’s abilities well and the show as a whole provided an entertaining night out. CeCe is that one character who we can all relate to which is the mark of a good performance.

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