Saturday, January 18, 2014



LipService at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester


Ah yes, Scandinavia. Northern Lights, Abba, Nordic Walking, Ikea, and, currently, Nordic Noir murder mysteries.

They're all here in LipService's gloriously silly “self-assembly Swedish Crime Thriller”, performed by comedy duo Sue Ryding and Maggie Fox. Just one of their dozen or more loosely literary spoofs.

Audience participation - “meaningful engagement” - is an integral part of what they do. For Desperate to be Doris local community choirs will do the backing vocals for Doris Day's greatest hits. And for Inspector Norse, we made Blue Peterish sparklers for Walpurgisnacht, made all the noises for the fireworks and attached leaves to the tree on the set.

More dedicated supporters had been hard at work knitting props and scenery for the show, including moggies, mugs, a coffee pot, and, yes, the coffee too. Not to mention road kill, body parts for the autopsy and the Aurora Borealis.

The set also boasts a lovely [remaindered] pop-up book for the scene changes, and giant knitting needles.

Against this backdrop, an unlikely story involving pop sensations Fabba, Inspector Larsson in her rustic Nordic knitwear, a toyboy in a hot tub and a pair of feckless moose, off their faces on rotten apples.

More than once I was reminded of the Goon Show, especially when crispbread did the sound effects for footsteps in the snow, a beaker of water for the voice on the phone.

A strangely innocent, constantly enjoyable show, with plenty of laughs and the odd groan. It's coming to the Civic, Chelmsford on April 3 – if you've never seen LipService – firm favourites in fringe venues all over the UK – then do yourself a favour and sample this hilarious nonsense from the frozen North.

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