Inspector Norse - Blackpool Grand Theatre
I’VE never been handed a knitted leaf walking into a theatre before.
Nor have I ever seen a knitted coffee pot in action, nevermind a woollen autopsy.
But the knitted props are just one example of the fabulous quirkiness of Swedish crime thriller, Inspector Norse.
LipService Theatre Company chose Blackpool’s Grand Theatre to host the premiere of its latest play and the giggling audience lapped up the off-beat style as soon as writers and performers Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding bounded onto stage.
The comedy duo drew the audience in from the word go, even with the lights still up and the pair fumbling around with Ikea-style flat-pack parts as they finished erecting the set.
“I think the Arts Council would call it meaningful engagement,” they explained as they handed a knitted spanner to an unsuspecting audience member.
The hilarious opening is packed with more Swedish stereotyping, including a lesson in Nordic walking with different sized hiking sticks, before a pop-up book with puppets sets the scene for the play.
Set in mid-winter, the production follows Inspector Sandra Larsson and her sidekick, Eric, as they try to unravel the mystery behind a murder in rural Sweden, near the home of former pop star, Freya.
Maggie and Sue play a multitude of mixed-gender parts - even a pair of delinquent moose drunk on fermented apples - which makes it easy to forget there are actually only two of them performing on stage.
With a witty script and great audience interaction (with the chance to go up on stage to attach your own woollen leaf to a flat-pack tree), Maggie and Sue have knitted together a fabulous yarn.