March 11th, 2013


Inspector Norse

Last Thursday W arrived back from Dubai at lunchtime and slept for the afternoon. We went to Mizu for dinner with the Gages and Russell Moon before going to see Inspector Norse or The Girl With Two Screws Left Over at the New Wolsey Theatre. This is a touring show by Lip Service, being the combined talents of Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding. I need to emphasise that I think that these women are quite brilliant at what they do. I have to say this so that you will not misunderstand me when I say that the set is really the star of this show; the actors are marvellous but the set is sublime. It is a collection of hinged flats that fold out like a book; it may have the cover of remaindered Nordic Noir but in the context it is impossible to avoid reference to an Ikea catalogue.

Although the target of this sharp parody is the entire panoply of Scandinavian crime fiction, the script is relentless in its pursuit of the Swedes. Given that it is touring throughout this year there is every chance that you will get an opportunity to see the show so I am reluctant to spoil any of the jokes but I am desperate to share my delight at so much of it. For example, it is not enough that one of the detectives wears a Scandinavian knitted jumper; the entire set is covered in knitting and the company is so proud of this that the audience are invited onto the stage to inspect the smaller details and gain the full effect at the interval. Frankly, I would have put the names of designers Colin Eccleston and Ruta Scaviesticute in lights outside the theatre.

Inspector Sandra Larsson and her assistant Erik investigate why the members of the great Swedish pop group Fabba are being killed off ... and by whom? The initial murder scene is a very long way from the police station and the car journey to this remote spot was the highlight of the show for me. From the decidedly home-made set to the carefully rehearsed sense of improvisation this is a conscious confident piece of audience involvement that largely eschews audience participation.

PS: Notice how assiduously I avoided any wooly knitting puns?