Isy Suttie

The entire set is full of creativity and ambition.

★★★
archive review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
33331 large
39658 original
Published 02 Aug 2007
33330 large
39658 original

Generally speaking, shelf-stackers and check-out girls get a hard time at the hands of Britain’s stand-up comics. Rarely does the Tesco employee receive a slap on the back for a job well done; never are Asda’s finest assumed to be found in anything other than the UK’s lowest IQ percentiles, and we most certainly are never shown the innermost ambitions and dreams of those who spend just that little bit too long trying to find the barcode on whichever newspaper they are presented with.

Deviating from this comedy norm, Isy Suttie’s charming representation of Lisa – Somerfield’s item-scanner extraordinaire, whose dreams of stardom and search for love drive the performance – is a delightful delivery of fresh produce, being almost entirely free of cynicism. The entire set is full of creativity and ambition, pulling together a knowingly cheesy four-character TV-soap storyline into a tight one-woman musical comedy.

Suttie’s portrayals of Lisa and her supporting characters – Lisa's uncomfortable date Carl, the gormless “ironic vegan”; her love rival, the particularly well-observed American singer-songwriter Mary; and the somewhat left-field Fairy Godmother – are gently mocking, using the deeply inane interactions between them as the crux of her comedy.

Unfortunately, however, there are few genuinely laugh-out-loud-funny moments. While all her songs are melodic, witty and performed impeccably, they lack the uproarious lines that would elevate Love Lost in the British Retail Industry to the top shelf, akin to the likes of Tim Minchin and Bill Bailey. With frustrating frequency, Suttie often retreats into clichéd and tired jokes about working class promiscuity just as she is on the brink truly insightful observational comedy. These flaws combine to cool an otherwise warm, charming and enjoyable hour of comedy.