Retail Therapy
Directed by Stephen Sinclair and Written by Grace-Amelia Vernal
Basement Theatre, Auckland
September 18th, 2018
4/5 stars
Reviewed by HAZEL REID

Retail Therapy is the babyof up-and-coming Auckland playwright, Grace-Amelia Vernal, and I can confirm that it is highly relatable. 

The concept for the play is one that Vernal has carried with her since she was 19 and, after scoring an internship last year at the Basement Theatre, she was able to work with producers Paul Roukchan and Stephen Sinclair from Click-Clack Productions to bring it to life.

The seven-person cast really owned each of their characters and didnt hold back. The 80-minute performance is raw but smooth, engaging the crowd with every comedic line. Charlie or Charles(played by Stephen Lyell) was the stand out for me – the way he naturally went from one personality to the other, smashing it every time.

Stefani and Darren – selfie time!

I also have to say I loved Mercy (Albertine Jonas) from the beginning, my friend and I agreed she was the one we identified with most from the get-go. Just a heads up between you and me – youll likely hate the spoilt brat Stefani (like Gwen Stefani she said) but there’s always one of those customers in retail(am I right?!)

I was impressed by the high quality of the props and accessories that they had managed to place perfectly in such a small space. The Basement Theatre has limited capacity and gives off a real under-ground sort of feel which I loved. It felt like we were seeing something exclusive and new before it blew up into the big lights of the big city, which I suppose is essentially what we saw – the premiere of Retail Therapy.

Ive only ever been to the Basement Theatre for comedy shows in the past and I actually think I laughed more at this show! Its hilarious, witty, charming and really identifiable among everyone. I recommend you get together a group, take advantage of the student price and support local talent!

Charlie has got his hands full with drama queen Stefani

Retail Therapy is on now at the Basement Theatre in Auckland and runs for a limited season until Saturday, so get in while you can! Student tickets are only $20 from iTicket.  

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