Opshop is a young, vibrant and fun work created by up and coming young, vibrant and fun company The Bloom. Written and directed by Monash-spawned theatre maker James O’Donoghue, Opshop explores the hipster culture that dominates the lives of young Melbournians. It does so through the subject matter of that oh so important aspect of the #hipsterlyfe, the opportunity shops.


Set mostly in an opshop owned by the geriatric and haggish Kerrie (James Jackson), Opshop contains an assortment of characters who walk the line between being so infuriating they make the audience want to shoot them or themselves and being charming enough that we’d probably have been pretty annoyed if anything happened to them. And, oh boy, does something happen to them.

Agnes (Tara Dowler) and Vincent (Oliver Bailey) work at Kerrie’s store. Despite her eccentricities Agnes has come to a state of equilibrium with Kerrie – they hate each other’s guts and stay out of each other’s way. While new-to-town Vincent is unnerved by the shop. Something is going on. Agnes’s friends keep disappearing and isn’t there something just really off about Kerrie?

Opshop really finds its feet in with its black comedy. O’Donoghue has succeeded wonderfully in coupling extreme acts of darkness with a quick and witty script that keeps the audience giggling throughout the 90-minute piece that feels fresh and relevant to Melbourne.

O’Donoghue should also be commended for a stellar use of design in the a small and difficult space of The Owl and the Pussycat.

Jackson is the stand out of the piece and it’s a joy to watch him as the unstoppable juggernaught that is Kerrie.

Dowler and Bailey do a great job of helping the audience connect with Agnes and Vincent, which is a relief as some of the other characters are deliberately frustrating, and the entire cast do well in keeping their character’s amusing rather than just annoying. Lucinda Walravens in particular should be given a tip of the hat for taking one of the most infuriating characters imaginable and keeping her at least semi-engaging.

A final note on characters must, however, go to Karl and the Fallen Pidgeon Orchestra. This “band”, made up of characters Karl (Lindsay Templeton) and Lewis (Aidan Kyval), were used as one of the main marketing tools by the piece and the three videos of them posted on The Bloom’s Facebook page got me really excited for the style of humour I could expect from the show.

Opshop doesn’t have the longest run but I do hope you get the chance to see it and support a young company doing original work.

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