Friday, 25 September 2009

Desperate to Be Doris - The Library Theatre, Manchester

Desperate to be Doris
Music/Lyrics: Andy Whitfield, Phil Bush, Lipservice and Doris Day
Book: Lipservice
Director: Mark Whitelaw
Choreographer: Nicola Bolton
Musical Director: Andy Whitfield and Phil Bush
Reviewer: Rebekah Maine

A packed library theatre on a late September evening sees LipService’s Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding take to the stage with their latest self-written production; Desperate to be Doris.

Based in current day Manchester Desperate to be Doris takes a truthful and comical approach to friendship, the workplace and of course, as the title hints, the 1950’s singer Doris Day. Whilst the theme of Doris runs throughout, it is not necessary to know a great deal about her as the writing and quick wit is a piece of comedy in itself.

Appealing to the local demographic with jibes about the city and current issues, scenes were cleverly assisted with a part naturalistic and part cartoon-esque set. This was both imaginative and practical. Lighting and Sound designer Phil Clarke provided the tools to allow the audience to differentiate between reality and imagination, essential for a play on Doris Day! Costume allowed the audience to identify different characters, and the actors to no doubt obtain a deeper form of characterisation.

Both Fox and Ryding portrayed several different characters, each displaying their versatile acting ability. The self-conscious acting style that was sometimes used caused the audience to roar with laugher at various points during the piece. Darren Southworth, as guest artist gave a believable and fun performance, which added something new to the normal working duo.

It soon became apparent that the characters were well though out, noticeably in their physicality and vocality. Multiple roles allowed the actors to portray a number of individuals, which helped to develop the plot; some likeable, some kooky and some just downright hilarious.

LipService who have been performing for over 20 years have said that they ‘have created some very silly pieces of theatre, with the emphasis on silly…’ Their aim is to ‘entertain, to create a unique experience for that particular audience on that particular night’. Desperate to be Doris was a great example of this.
All in all, a cleverly written comedy, with likeable characters and organised production techniques….with a few musical numbers thrown in!

runs at the Library Theatre until Sat 3rd October
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