Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Inspector Norse

Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding
LipService
Blackpool Grand

Knitwits - Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding in Inspector Norse

Since this is the first time anyone, anywhere on the planet, has seen the latest comedy offering from LipService then this is, indeed, a world première.

Then again there’s always the feeling about their shows that every night’s a first night and no-one’s more surprised than Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding as to what might turn up...

It is what has kept this zany duo’s humour aloft for more than 25 years, a gentle, gallantly-silly style of making fun of a dozen or more cultural totems. Sherlock Holmes, the Brontes, James Bond, King Arthur—all have been given the unique LipService spoofing.

This time the Manchester duo turn their comedy gaze on to the current popularity of Scandinavian crime dramas, or Nordic Noir. Naturally they can’t help themselves but draw in a certain pop supergroup from the region, nor an equally popular furniture superstore.

And while there’s always been an element of flat-pack, self assembly fun about LipService you can’t avoid the feeling that on this occasion there’s more than one or two screws loose.

Blackpool’s Matcham masterpiece of a theatre will always lend its own grace to any performance, but is maybe just a little too Grand for the highly personal antics of a comedy duo who are at their peak in slightly smaller venues.

LipService have always been at their best conveying, whether real or imagined, a comic fear of failure at the heart of their performance so it helps to be able to see the whites of their eyes and especially the intricacies of their set design and sight gags.

This time round the yarn is largely based on the theme of knitting, in keeping with the woolly jumper that made the star of one Swedish crime drama a momentary style icon.

While Inspector Norse won’t have you in stitches just yet, there’s enough material, and several comedy ‘purlers’, to suggest it will all stretch to fit some time soon.

Certainly once they work out how to get some laughs out of the moose or troll costumes, though it’s fair to suggest the second act is unlikely ever to make sense!

Reviewer: David Upton