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335 Stretford Road
0161 232 6093/4
Very Little Women
Award-winning comedy duo LipService (Maggie Fox & Sue Ryding) return in Very Little Women, their version of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel of four sisters making their own entertainment during the American Civil War.
Meet the March girls - Meg, the sensible one, Jo the tomboy and would be novelist one, Beth the ill one and Amy the vain, silly one, plus, of course, Laurie the tousled haired boy next door - all played by Maggie and Sue aided and abetted by their specially appointed dialect coach.
This show has all the makings of a three handkerchief weepie. Join the sisters as they crochet dishcloths for the poor and needy, who would really rather they didn't, anxiously await news of father away at the war, watch as consumptive Beth rallies from her death bed (again)!
All this plus a free pull out sampler pattern in our gorgeous souvenir programme! A show as charming and mischievous as a basketful of kittens!
Very Little Women
Library Theatre, Manchester
Monday March 22, 2004
It is hard to know what has prevented literary spoof specialists Lip Service from getting their claws into Louisa May Alcott's classic before now. Perhaps it is because there are four little women and only two members of Lip Service. And one of them is six foot two inches tall.
But with special guest Matthew Vaughan dragged in - literally - to swell the sisterly ranks, the duo do a good job of doubling up, with a ventriloqist's doll to fill in the gaps. It's all rather hectic, but commendably done, though the dummy's performance is perhaps a little wooden.
Otherwise, this anarchic take on Amercian adolesence has plenty of period darn. Yes, you read that right - the programme doubles up as an embroidery sampler in the shape of a delightful kitten. Lip Service shows tend to follow a certain formula, but that's how their legion of fans prefer them. At best, the physical interraction between Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding transcends words. They have only to trade boss-eyed, open-mouthed glances to be pant-wettingly funny.
The staging is, as ever, a flat-pack farrago of wonky props and ill-timed sound effects. They certainly have some very unusual weather in this part of Massachusets - particularly the sudden snow flurries, which can be gimpsed out of the window, scrolling upwards.
But there is pathos as well as parody in the devastating portrayal of Beth - angelic, consumptive and clearly not long for this show. The moment when her soul ascends to heaven, on a long piece of string, brings tears to the eyes. You'll want to pack plenty of tissues. And maybe a change of underwear.
Rating: 4 stars