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Price Check!


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Have you ever wondered what the bored-looking girl behind the checkout counter is really thinking or been curious about what goes on behind closed doors in your local supermarket? All is revealed in this unusual new musical comedy.

Set in an unnamed Australian supermarket and directed by Michael Fuller, Price Check! follows the lives of several individuals working and shopping in a store. They include Narelle (Catherine Campbell), a 30-something checkout chick who is coasting through the daily trials and tribulations of her job, and Zayeeb (Fahad Faroque), an over-zealous fruit and veg assistant with an inappropriate approach to the produce. Faroque’s performance as the naïve foreigner provides much of the show’s comedic relief and, with his powerful voice, he is easily the standout performer.

Show creator Sean Weatherly plays David, a store assistant frustrated by the hand he has been dealt, while Don Bridges is Mr Butler, the stereotypically sadistic store manager whose only goal in life is to make those around him miserable (let’s face it, we’ve all worked for someone like that). Jacqy Phillips rounds off the cast as Mrs Zimmerman, a lonely old lady who follows the exasperated staff through the store, sharing every detail of her life and holding up queues with her constant questioning.

As a grocery store clerk, I could relate to poor David, whose hopes for his future are dashed every day when he enters the store; I also saw myself in the actions of frustrated Narelle – particularly when she was stuck listening to the never-ending rants of Mrs Zimmerman.

The accompanying songs (composed and written by Sean Weatherly and Cerise de Gelder) are unusual, at times funny. A rare few – such as Narelle, David and Zayeeb’s rendition of “Just Another Customer” perfectly capture the mood of the retail environment.

Price Check! is still a work-in-progress, with Weatherly taking the unusual step of opening the show to public feedback via a series of live readings at La Boheme as part of the Cabaret Fringe Festival. Essentially a dress rehearsal (without scenery or proper lighting), these readings featured the actors in costume, reading directly from the script (although this didn’t seem to prevent them mixing up the lines).

Despite the strong characters and credible script, I struggled to enjoy the performance, finding the songs and jokes (including the sexual innuendo) rather hit-and-miss.

The Price Check! season is now finished. The Cabaret Fringe Festival continues until June 29.

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