THE DEPARTMENT STORE - What the critics said…
Justin Fleming's The Department Store exploits many conventions and excesses of
melodrama to create a delightfully theatrical journey through Au Bonheur des Dames, by
the French novelist Emile Zola.
It is highly ambitious to explore the contemporary politics of workplace relations and
corporate greed through the appropriation of a flamboyant theatrical style from
yesteryear. At times the fluency, wit and density of sexual allusion in the language recall
the social satire of the Restoration era. That in the playing some scenes elicit
spontaneous applause is a tribute to Fleming's vision and the excellent production.
Sydney Morning Herald
A new play from Justin Fleming is always welcome.
Fleming's script, a free adaptation of Emile Zola's novel Au Bonheur Des Dames, is pure
froth: entertaining… coyly erotic, positively orgasmic.
It's one of the most entertaining, eccentric and unusual works to be seen at the Old
Fitzroy Theatre or anywhere else in Sydney, for that matter.
With melodrama, dastardly events, a spry script and much burlesque and tragedy, The
is somehow effervescently French and deliciously silly, as well as politically apposite
and weirdly relevant.
Fleming's script is playful and witty… Intransigent honour versus implacable pride is an
underlying theme in a tango of commerce and comedy.
Fleming raises the audience’s awareness of attitudes that we seem to take for granted.
Winner of the inaugural Mitch Matthews award, The Department Store is an amusing
look at Consumerism Consuming the Consumer. There is tragedy, of course, and
redemption, and a well-deserved downfall or two - an entertaining look at retail therapy
- A comedic treat.
An inventive and colourful melodrama…
Fleming’s script creates a sparkling narrative and captures the florid excesses of the
women lured into the retail clutches of Paradise. Yet more evidence of the theatrical
invention now apparent in Sydney’s independent theatre sector
The Sydney Star Observer