Monday, 13 June 2016

Charlotte - The Movie!

Lip Service
Charlotte - The Movie is a film commissioned for Charlotte's bicentenary, and it premiered at West Lane Baptist Church on the Friday evening of the June Weekend/Summer Festival. Performed by Lip Service Theatre Company , an outfit very well known to most of the substantial audience because of its live shows (there was a call for hands up), it was made in the Parsonage and nearby with the enthusiastic assistance of the staff. Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding (pictured), who in various guises took all the main parts, from Mrs Gaskell to Robert Redford, have been writing and performing together since 1985, with eighteen original comedies for the stage, a comedy series on Radio 4 and a number of television appearances to their credit. They more than lived up to the description of them by a Guardian reviewer a few years ago - "The Laurel and Hardy of literary deconstruction".

There were excerpts from their long-running stage show Withering Looks, but this was several steps on from all that. The laughter at the introduction (in English followed by Japanese) and the opening scene in the Parsonage Dining Room ("Don't sit on that couch!") continued right through to the final gags about submitting the film for the Sundance Festival. The studied naivety, the in-jokes and the child-like glee went down well, and the quiz papers dished out afterwards (sadly, hardly anyone knew that Queen Victoria's middle name was Alexandrina) provided a good excuse to chat with the audience, to soak in a few comments. Both Maggie and Sue were certainly on edge before the screening, but much more relaxed after they had heard the reactions. The only (slight) irritation appears to have been that people laughed too much, which meant that they sometimes missed the witticism which was next in line. These things can be timed better with the punters live in front of you.


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