Me and Lipservice go back a scarily long way, they celebrate their 30th anniversary this year and the first time I was introduced to their quirky delights was at the Romiley Forum for Withering Looks, probably around 25 years ago. Blimey I'm old! I've seen that show three or four times, once supporting Victoria Wood I seem to remember, and most of their productions since and they never fail to raise a smile.
Their latest creation, The Picture of Doreen Gray tells a tale which will resonate with many in their audience, as radio and tv presenter Doreen is faced with the fickleness of the entertainment world towards ladies of advancing years, exploring whether it is better to be outwardly young or ultimately to celebrate what you are, enjoy life, and buy a pair of comfy shoes.
Once again a community cast has been recruited for the show, which is a fun addition and makes for some exhuberant big numbers, (and also boosts ticket sales based on the excited waves from large sections of the audience at the matinee I attended!). The props and set are very clever with some great use of projection tricks and sight gags, and the storyline is fun with some nicely observed characters. And of course Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding are as naturally comical as ever.
Whilst this production is no 'Desperate to be Doris', it is enjoyable, witty, well paced, with plenty of laugh out loud moments throughout and a heartwarming message to impart. The audience thoroughly enjoyed themselves and there were smiles all round.
Right, now I'm off to get myself some comfy K shoes, and maybe a badger costume. Here's to 30 more years ladies.