Venue: The Lowry
Comediennes Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding have been a force to be reckoned with ever since they teamed up in 1986 to form their two person company, Lip Service, which takes the Michael out of the classics.
Who could be more classical than Sherlock Holmes with his deer stalker hat and high I.Q? A genius, he splits the atom and invents penicillin in his spare time!
In Move over Moriarty, the violin-playing, French-knitting sleuth with his not-so-bright side kick, Dr Watson, investigates the amazing case of the Garibaldi Biscuit Affair.
The action takes place in the Strand Theatre where the intrepid pair search for clues with the traditional Lip Service light touch rewarded by peels of laughter from the audience. Maggie and Sue play both roles, and many others, switching sexes and costumes at a rate of knots. You can’t believe the speed with which they use accent and body language to establish each identity.
When Watson appears without his moustache, Holmes shouts “You’ve shaved!” and he dashes back to get it.
The silliness continues when the pair meet music hall characters Death-Defying Dan and his welk -infested Tank of Terror, the Musical, Motherless Twins who sing “Mother’s in heaven and dad’s in the Pub”, male impersonator, Vesta Curry and Major Shotoff.
His hair neatly parted in the middle, Dr Watson falls for the major’s daughter, Holmes takes on the disguise of Molotov, the Mind Man of Minsk with a Russian accent to match. Lip Service’s joint artistic directors, Maggie and Sue, not only perform the piece, but they are on writing duties also. However, they have an independent director, Gwenda Hughes and the show is backed by Mark Vibrans’ music and the lyrics of a jolly little song written by Malcolm Raeburn.
Move Over Moriarty is only one of 15 stage comedies Lipservice have written and toured the country.They have taken this particular show to the United States and Pakistan which proves their humour is universal.
I hope that the Arts Council will continue to fund this unique, award winning company, as Moriarty is frenetic, farcical and very funny.