Writers: Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Reviewer: Jamie Gaskin
The Public Reviews Rating:
Most actors are aware of the dangers of being overshadowed by working with children and animals – few can fear being upstaged by their own props and set. Lip Service’s inventive staging and cartoonesque props win as many giggles and guffaws as their witty script.
And so it is with Inspector Norse or The Girl With Two Screws Left Over, the latest whacky offering from Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding being staged at The Unity Theatre, Liverpool.
20 odd years after Girls in Space with its multi-purpose ironing board Lip Service continue to delight us with magical low-budget scenery. Here the work of set designers Colin Eccleston and Ruta Scaviesticute. They offer Ryding and Fox a catalogue of scenes set out like .. well, an IKEA catalogue. A large set of flats which fold out as they are required. And so prominent on stage you wonder if the catalogue has an Equity card.
In Inspector Norse the theatre favourites home in on our current passion for Swedish detectives with the added bonus that many of the props are knitted – including a possible murder weapon.The audience are always drawn into the action. So do remember to bring along your Allen key to help build this “self-assembly Swedish crime thriller.” But be careful not to get too involved or you could end up as the Prime Suspect.
Swedish music, including Greig, are neatly knitted into the plot alongside hits from the legendary Swedish pop group Fabba. And what a plot: Just who is killing members of this pop group? Difficult to say but the show’s wickedly wonderful rewritten songs does murder many of you-know-who’s best known hits.
Inspector Sandra Larsson struggles bravely with this mystery and with phone interruptions from her elderly mother who has a knitting fetish. Perhaps little too reminiscent of Fox’s phone calls from her children when she was in deadly danger as special agent Jane Bond.
As ever Ryding and Fox morph into all the characters with a delicious amateur clumsiness that has become their professional trade-mark. Favourites being the two moose who spend their time trying not to get knocked down by cars while getting stoned on fermenting apples.
Despite their skill at looking as if they are making it up as they go along director Gwenda Hughes should be pleased with the way she has kept the irrepressible duo in line and avoiding a woolly performance. Another pearl from Lip Service.
Runs until 20th October
Inspector Norse - Unity Theatre, Liverpool,