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Brief Encounter With ... Lipservice (Sue Ryding and Maggie Fox)

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Lipservice are a popular female comedy duo based in Manchester. They have been writing and performing together since 1985. Between them they have have penned fourteen comedies for the stage. Their unique brand of affectionate humour has a real Northern flavour, reminscent of Victoria Wood.

They return to the Library Theatre next month with Desperate To Be Doris which wowed audiences last September.

You have spoofed everything from horror films, literature through to James Bond. How do you come up with your ideas?
The idea for the Doris Day show came from a New Year’s Eve party Sue attended. When the party started to flag, the hostess put on her Doris Day compilation confident it would get everyone going. She was not wrong. People crammed into the living room to sing their hearts out to Secret Love, hitting that high note and shouting their secret love from the highest hill. Sue thought there had to be a show in it involving community choirs. Everyone knows the songs, and they have a real feel good factor.

Tell us a bit about Desperate To Be Doris. What is the concept?
The show is set in a mail order nightwear company, called the Pyjama Game. Not the most glamorous of work places: their best selling item is a flanellette nightie called the Cosy Eileen! They have fallen on hard times and are about to make people redundant. We follow Dean’s story, one of their sales team, who in the privacy of his own home sings like Doris Day. When his local amateur operatic company Out of My Range decide to stage Calamity Jane, Dean seizes his chance to shine. The show is about hopes, dreams and aspirations and about the human capacity to take on life at its most challenging and win.

Why Doris Day?
She is the top ranking female box office star of all time and yet she is also like the girl next door. She is in the cheering up business, her films make you smile. We at LipService like to think we are in the cheering up business too, a role even more important in uncertain economic times.

You have a live choir with you. What’s that like?
It’s fantastic. When we attended the first choir rehearsal in York, we all burst into tears, for some reason lots of voices surrounding you is a very emotional experience. We have met some wonderful people and we are having lots of fun. We don’t tend to have enough fun in our lives, so this experience is a real treat for us.

Is there anything left that you would like to satirise in your next production? What are your future plans?
We intend to revive our award-winning Agatha Christie spoof, Knit One Murder One, which we have not performed in 20 years. We need to do something else with the choirs, they all keep asking what we are going to do with them next. Ideas on a postcard please!

Sue Ryding and Maggie Fox were speaking to Glenn Meads

Desperate To Be Doris runs at the Library Theatre from 11-15 May. For more details, please click here.


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