27 January 2006 WOS Rating: Lipservice is a great female double act which has had audiences laughing like drains for 20 years. They poke affectionate fun at popular culture with a distinct female perspective. Over the years they have spoofed Little Women, Wuthering Heights and Sherlock Holmes. Now they turn their spotlight on the horror film genre.
Jeanette and Keith lead a fairly dull life. Keith lives for his TV and his DVD player, much to the annoyance of his long suffering partner. But when they rent horror film
The Talisman, their lives blur as Keith finds himself trapped in the very piece of equipment that makes his life complete; his really big television with surround sound. How will he escape? Will Jeanette find the remote control and will audiences find this spoof as funny as the talented duo’s previous efforts? Well if the enthusiastic audience reaction on the night I went is anything to go by, theatregoers will hit the ‘yes’ button.
The problem is, despite the constant laughter echoing across the stalls, at times this comedy is missing a few of the trademark ingredients that made the other shows such a hoot.
Su Ryding and Maggie Fox are their usual athletic selves, performing a multitude of parts and making the audience crease up with laughter. Maggie's Keith is a great character and she plays him so convincingly well. Su, likewise effortlessly plays everything from a child possessed to a middle class housewife.
Horror films, though, have been sent up on so many occasions that you cannot help but feel the material is almost below these two. Not only that but their clever skits on
Muffin the Mule, Gardener's World and middle class suburbia seen here are far funnier than the main focus of the piece anyway. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of fun to be derived from the on stage antics - but you do feel that the material is spread thinly. A musical interlude for example merely looks like padding and barely raises a smile.
Mark Chatterton's direction is patchy as there seem to be too many scenes of us watching them watch TV which makes you wonder why you left the house. But with such funny comediennes chewing the scenery and improvising their way out of trouble, all is not lost as some of the scenes really live up to the show's title - they are a scream.
- Glenn Meads (reviewed at the Library Theatre, Manchester)
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