The Shoe Shop

Thu 23rd February 2012


Julia Chapman

at 00:31 on 24th Feb 2012



It seems genuinely unfathomable that anyone should want to set a play in a shoe shop. That said, someone did, and although both the title and the plot summary implied an emission of pure tedium, the result wasn’t as horrific as one might imagine. The Shoe Shop, written and directed by Chris McQuillan, was an odd play, full of stilted dialogue and overt didacticisms. Its talented cast and a smattering of truly funny moments saved the audience from dwelling excessively on the banal setting.

The problem was that if The Shoe Shop was meant to be ironic this was not conveyed clearly enough. At times The Shoe Shop hinted at the satirical, but when the tone led to the play beginning to take itself seriously, all credibility of earlier comedy was lost. Luke Satterthwaite as Kieran was excellent, but his character’s perpetual frustration with annoying customer after annoying customer began to grate rather quickly. This, however, was evidently a fault of the script and not of the actor. Simon Gallow’s religious zealot Mr Redgrave provoked the only significant laughter. It is to his credit that a long list of fruit could have the audience in stitches. Ben Plumb’s Derek and Livia Carron and Hannah Andrews’ doubled up roles all deserve mention for temporarily lifting the play from its potential insipidity.

The Shoe Shop ended up being little more than an edifying tale of a humdrum character. Filled with classic clichés such as, ‘One day son, you’ll reach my age…’, The Shoe Shop ensured that no audience member could have been left ignorant of the writer’s belief that our destinies are awaiting us. If you seek insight into the mundane world of a bored twenty-four year old shoe salesman, then fine, but it doesn’t make for brilliant drama.


Rachel Racioppo

at 09:30 on 24th Feb 2012



The goings-on in Chris McQuillan’s The Shoe Shop are what one would expect from a play with such a title. The piece centered around a young employee and his utter disdain for the patrons of—you guessed it—the shoe shop at which he works. A series of mildly eccentric customers and staff add to the mix of leather and labour as they conventionally interact with one another, all while maintaining the boundaries of normal podiatric conduct.

Luke Satterthwaite’s portrayal of protagonist/sales clerk Kieran reveals the competence he clearly possesses as an actor, although it needs to be said that the persistent complaining written into the character was a little overdrawn, but at no fault of Satterthwaite.

The role of Derek was an accurate depiction of your average shop owner; good at giving orders, and even better at taking coffee breaks. Ben Plumb, who plays the character, did so refreshingly. His consistent energy was something to be admired.

Simon Gallow brought some much-needed comic relief to the performance with his character, Mr. Redgrave. He was so entertaining as the batty shop regular that his final appearance as the elderly and subdued Mr. Douglas was almost disappointing in comparison and I found myself desperately hoping he would just forget the empty, inspirational nonsense and start yelling out the names of some more fruit.

The ending, although well intentioned, failed to strike the cord of profundity that we were all anticipating, proving that comedies —like Mr. Redgrave’s perception of women—are much like the apple and bananas in a fruit bowl; initially sweet and delicious but fated to go bad.


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