Bagged! is essentially the Sky sitcom Trollied transferred across the Pennines to Yorkshire. It’s a light, daft comedy set in budget supermarket Cost Croppers, through which an ever-revolving cast of shop assistants and customers nip in and out over the course of a hectic day. The big boss is due to pay a visit, and ladder-climbing manager John wants everything tickety-boo.
The ensemble piece wants to get everyone involved, regardless of ability, experience or age. This means cameos from characters that are been and gone in a blink. Often we don’t know why. Often they’re reduced to one trait, and not much more, for jokes which might build over time if we had longer with the characters. Most people multi-role, and there’s hints of resentments between certain characters, but again, not enough time to explore.
There’s an assistant called Susan, for instance – a man in a wig and false boobs. It might be a trans angle – the effect is like Tim Healy in Benidorm – or it might just be old-fashioned drag. It leaves us hanging. A couple of other characters are much more obviously drag, which only confuses things more.
The more significant characters introduce themselves with a short biog to the audience which is a bit superfluous. They’re not complex, and we’ve figured out most of what we need to know from their dialogue. But, the longer the characters stick around, the more we get to know and like them. The strongest are John, the store manager, who thinks he is in the closet, but the door is wide open. There’s also a gobby and menopausal (her colleagues’ interpretation, not mine) checkout assistant, who is played with excellent soap battleaxey flourishes. Younger characters, including a too-smart-by-half, middle-finger-flicking child shoplifter give this broad appeal.
On this last day they’ve sold out (to a largely Yorkshire audience by the sound of the accents in the room) and the cast look like they’ve had a lot of fun making it. They’ve found a good home for their short run, here at PQA Venues which has been championing some interesting regional theatre. This perhaps isn’t the best of them, but it’s spirited, and it’s good to see this all-age cast getting what for some must be their first taste of the Fringe.