Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area

Musicals and Opera (comedy, new writing)

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  • Underbelly, Cowgate - Belly Button
  • 15:45
  • Aug 25
  • 1 hour
  • Suitability: 12+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom - England
  • Group: Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society
  • Warnings and additional info: Audience Participation, Strong Language/Swearing
  • Accessibility:
    Relaxed Performance
    May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


Grab your Bag for Life, stick your pound-shaped keyrings into the trolley and step inside The Supermarket for a freshly baked musical treat. Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area is an original comedy-musical from Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society (SiX, Hot Gay Time Machine) by Laurence T-Stannard and Cambridge Footlights Amaya Holman and Jamie Bisping. Get ready for an absurd hour of hilarious songs, heartwarming characters and some taste-the-difference hummus that is dangerously close to its expiry date. Expect chuckles. Expect brioche. Expect the unexpected (item in the bagging area).

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General venue access

  • Relaxed Performance
  • Accessible entry: There are 16 steps into this venue from the cowgate entrance.
  • Wheelchair access type: Not fully wheelchair accessible

  • Stairs: 11- 20
    Number of stairs is provided as guidance and is not in addition to any wheelchair access type (lift/ramp etc) stated above.

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

Relaxed performances

  • Dates: 7 August
  • Booking options: You can book independently online, or contact our access team for more information or to discuss any accessibility requirements.
  • Character Introduction Details
  • Additional information: Information not supplied

Be aware that this show features:

  • Characters expressing anger
  • Permission to move around and make noise

Show does not feature:

  • Total Audience Black Out
  • Flashing Lights/Strobed Lighting
  • Loud/repetitive/high pitched/unexpected or overlapping sound
  • Distinctive smells
  • Special effects (e.g. smoke/bubbles/pyrotechnics)
  • Latex balloons
  • Heavily dialogue-driven scenes
  • Audience required to walk around
  • Audience required to undertake directed movement
  • Audience required to sing/speak along with/for performer
  • Audience invited on stage
  • Performer goes into audience area
  • An intermission
  • Audience chill out area
  • Permission to engage with performer
  • Show guide or synopsis or character list

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • Has specific seating requirements
  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

Abbie 82 days ago


Absolutely hilarious. Quick witted and comedic timing to perfection. The music was catchy and funny. An all round quality performance!

Elin 83 days ago

Throughly enjoyed this show. Great afternoon humour and excellent songs.

Alison Cuthbert 84 days ago

Good music and talent amongst the cast but weak content and a bit like watching a school play. It felt like it wasn't performed for the audience but for the cast themselves.

Scott 84 days ago

The show was fun...in parts. I felt it maybe could have been trimmed a little, but overall it was an entertaining hour on the whole.

I enjoyed many aspects such as the live music, and the inventive use of limited props to make a set, it did have a supermarket vibe. The songs were fun, the characters were zany, the girl who loved herself (Bridget) was probably the most memorable character for me. It's an absurd story, but if you go with it and take it for what it is, you'll have a good time.

If you like musicals and you like supermarkets (whether as a customer or employee) this would be a good one for you to see.

Gaia 85 days ago

Brilliant, engrossing, catchy and highly entertaining show! 5/5

David Dobson 85 days ago

Excellent production performed by very talented young actors. Recommended unreservedly!

Janice Armitage 85 days ago

Thoroughly enjoyed this show. It was laugh out loud funny, I found the story to be endearing and engaging but it was the comedy which carried it and it did so successfully. Brilliant cashiers. Loved it.

Lisa Nelson 86 days ago

The performers, music, and choreography were excellent. However, the underlying story was not compelling or interesting enough to carry the show for me. I felt I was enduring the experience. Very talented cast though.

Adam D 87 days ago

Couldn’t help but hum the last few bars of the last song as I was leaving. Show was funny, the cast were great and the music was excellent.

Mandy 87 days ago

This is a fantastic show! The script is clever and very funny. Strong cast with some outstanding vocal and visual comedy performances. Oh, and the songs! I find myself still humming the jazzy catch-line 'Unexpected...'

Kindall Goble 87 days ago

Let’s start with LT Stannard, a young composer/songwriter with a VERY bright future. Yes, he’s all that and a case of crisps.
The book is silly and fun. The performers play playfully with aplomb. The singing is excellent and the HARMONIES are a refreshing treat.
Treat yourself if you can find a ticket.

Niall Murphy 89 days ago

Very funny. 12+ well merited but excellent script and music. Hilarious.

Amara Heyland-Morrin 89 days ago

5 star singing, 5 star choreo, was laughing out loud the WHOLE way through. The cast are gobsmackingly talented, and love that the show is packed with clever and funny references to musical theatre, politics and beyond - go and see it!! Songs will be stuck in my head for ages

Philip Healing 89 days ago

@_unexpecteditem A brilliantly performed piece by top class young actors, with a score by @Ltstannard that you can only dream of at a one hour musical at the fringe. This is exceptional quality and could not be more entertaining. This worthy of an Off Broadway run, right now. It's selling out here at the fringe, so if you can fit it in, it's a treat like no other.

Jamie Sayers 90 days ago

Suuuuch a funny and enjoyable show!!! Fantastic new writing and brilliant songs! The direction was tight and jokes landed with perfect timing. The vocals from the cast were extremely strong and everyone came out absolutely beaming. Would hugely recommend.

David Copley 93 days ago

A reasonable show, well choreographed. However at least one of the vocalists deliveries was not powerful enough to be heard clearly above the quite loud band, probably due to the very small space the performers occupied.

Simon Samuel 94 days ago

A gem of a show - def worth seeing

Chris H 96 days ago

GREAT SHOW!! Highly entertaining, high energy performance from all the cast and wonderful vocals. Fish cakes duet is an absolute highlight. Gorgeous harmonies throughout and very funny. DON’T MISS IT!!

Michael Haslam 97 days ago

This is such a good show! The 6 cast members acted, sang and danced brilliantly. The 6 musicians played with skill and finesse. The plot is quite silly but very funny. The dialogue and songs are really high quality. Very clever staging, scenery, props and costumes. What’s not to like? GO AND SEE IT!

Manya Chadwick 99 days ago

5 stars or more. Musical comedy at its best, set in a supermarket. Wonderful voices, superbly creative songs, and a fine mix of stereotypical characters who mastered the art of physicaI acting. The loudest applause ever!

David Henderson 99 days ago

This was a great show- lots of energy, massively entertaining. The cast sang superbly and the audience really enjoyed it.

Graham McDonald 100 days ago

Silly and super funny. The cast all had amazing vocals. My 12 year old enjoyed it too (especially Karen the cat lady and when the 'bad guy' got the giggles!) Some swearing and jokes that went over her head. Want to see it again!

SMarks 100 days ago

Really good fun - this show is ridiculous in the best way. Not one moment was I bored - the actors are really very talented, the jokes are original and funny. Recommend this show to anyone who is up for a silly hour of catchy songs and funny characters.

P Goerke 100 days ago

Energetic, fun play with some catchy tunes. While the plot was not quite what we expected from the title (no self-service check out machines involved) it was still a great performance to watch with some amazing vocal talents, fun jokes and a fantastic live band!

Greg Watson 101 days ago

A energetic and accomplished performance by a well-knit ensemble and some decent show tunes aren’t quite enough to disguise a plot that lacks any real jeopardy. Nonetheless, good fun.

Tom Jay 101 days ago

Brilliant. Funny, sweet, the songs are superb and the cast all deliver stellar performances!

Reported/Removed 84 days ago

This review was reported and removed after review by a Moderator.

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The Wee Review (4/5 stars) 80 days ago

Be prepared to expect the unexpected in this marvellous musical, Unexpected Item in The Bagging Area. Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society brings a show filled with witty songs that are bound to leave a smile. We follow a variety of characters within the supermarket, including a fishmonger who is hopelessly...

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Musical Theatre Review (3/5 stars) 83 days ago

There are some great vocal performances and some good movers, but it is the music and the band that are the class act here. Good original tunes that are played and arranged beautifully

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The Stage [paywall] (3/5 stars) 84 days ago

As fringe musicals go, this is proper. It has a complete plot, strong characters, fully orchestrated songs, a nice bit of choreography. But it would have been so much better if they’d put all that talent towards a better theme than supermarkets. This isn’t a Ken Loach film. The musical,...

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ThreeWeeks (4/5 stars) 92 days ago

With a full band and five-man cast, ‘Unexpected…’ is an absurd comedy musical set in a local supermarket. Each character is well developed with their own story arc underpinning the main tale of someone trying to have the store closed down. There are no weak cast members and each one’s...

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Edinburgh Guide (3/5 stars) 94 days ago

An unexpected item in the bagging area might be the least of your worries in this particular struggling supermarket. A number of things seem surprising; such as the fire threatening to run out of control in the aisles, the pilfering armed school children and the rabid rodents. And then there’s...

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Broadway Baby (3/5 stars) 100 days ago

Have you ever been to a supermarket and thought, “Hey, I really wish the staff would sing more?" Well, Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society are here to make that wish come true. Set in your local shop, Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area explores the petty grudges, romantic dreams and...

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.