by Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding.
Tour to 6 April 2013.
Runs: 1hr 55min One interval.
Review: Alan Geary 28 November 2012 at Lakeside Arts Centre Nottingham.
Too touchy-feely to be up to their usual standard. A disappointment.
LipService’s latest spoof, Inspector Norse takes a merciless swipe at the current obsession with Nordic Noir crime literature. A major theme therefore is all things knitting and wool. Sadly it’s a disappointment.
It might be an overload of audience involvement. Certainly the approach is way too touchy-feely, which doesn’t sit well with the usually engaging psychological struggle supposed to be going on between the personas of Ryding and Fox. There’s a decidedly unfunny filmed sequence showing real groups round the country doing knitting for the show.
It might also be that the target this time has a less solid identity than the butts of ridicule in previous shows – Bond, Little Women, the Brontës, Sherlock Holmes, and so on. It doesn’t seem to generate so many laughs as these did; there are definite longueurs.
At the entrance to the auditorium you’re issued with a kit for making a “sporkler” (cod-Scandinavian for sparkler): a drinking straw, an elastic band, wool, re-cycled paper strips and tinsel. As you take your seat Abba tracks are playing in the background.
When Maggie Fox (the tall one) and Sue Ryding (the short one) come on a stage hand is supposed to be still constructing the set – with a cheap DIY flat-pack which assembles into a giant paperback, reduced-to-clear.
This done, Fox and Ryding assure the audience that, unlike previous shows, there’s to be no resort to cheap stereotypes. Immediately, of course, and for the duration of the show, they proceed to wade about in unashamedly bargain-basement stereotypes of all things Scandinavian.
You’re treated to the duo’s trademark ingeniously broken-down set devices, to the back projection, and to the awkward pauses and side-long looks at the audience they’ve become famous for. At one point Fox sounds more than a little like Bluebottle out of The Goon Show.
They’re funny, certainly; but not as funny as they have been.
Performers: Maggie Fox, Sue Ryding.
7 Dec 8pm Junction Goole 01405 763652 www.junctiongoole.co.uk
8 Dec 7.30pm Rose Theatre Ormskirk 01695 584480 www.edgehill.ac.uk/rosetheatre
16 Jan 7.30pm Courtyard Hereford 01432 340555 www.courtyard.org.uk
18 Jan 7.45pm The Theatre Chipping Norton 01608 642350 www.chippingnortontheatre.co.uk
29 Jan 7.30pm Harrogate Theatre 01423 502116 www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk
30 Jan-2 Feb 7.30pm Mat Sat 2.30pm Coliseum Theatre Oldham 0161 624 2829 www.coliseum.org.uk
5 Feb 7.30pm Buxton Opera House 0845 127 2190 www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk
13-14 Feb Theatre By The Lake Keswick 017687 74411 www.theatrebythelake.co.uk
15 Feb 7.45pm Customs House South Shields 0191 454 1234 www.customshouse.co.uk
16 Feb 7.30pm Victoria Hall Settle 01729 825718 www.settlevictoriahall.org.uk
27 Feb 7.30pm Roses Theatre Tewkesbury 01684 295074 www.rosestheatre.org
28 Feb 7.30pm The Mill Banbury 01295 279002 www.themillartscentre.co.uk
5-7 March Tue 7pm Wed, Thu 7.45pm Mat Wed 2.30pm New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich 01473 295900 www.wolseytheatre.co.uk
8 March Spring Arts and Heritage Centre Havant 023 9247 2700 www.thespring.co.uk
12 March Brindley Arts Centre Runcorn 0151 907 8360 www.thebrindley.org.uk
13 March 8pm City Varieties Leeds 0113 243 0808 www.cityvarieties.co.uk
27 March 7.30pm Grand Theatre Lancaster 01524 64695 www.lancastergrand.co.uk
3-6 April 8pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm The Lowry Salford (Quays Theatre) 0843 208 6000 www.thelowry.com