A Purl of a Show at Lowther Pavilion

Love a good yarn? Think Nordic noir crime novels and TV series like The Killing are hot stuff? Then Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion has just the thing for you.

LipService Theatre’s Inspector Norse (or The Girl with Two Screws Left Over) had its premiere at the Grand Theatre over a year ago. Described as “a self-assembly Swedish crime thriller”, it features snowy landscapes, unexplained death – and knitting. Cast off your preconceptions as the award-winning duo weave a web of mystery that will have you in stitches!

I chatted to LipService’s Sue Ryding about this unique piece of drama which has such strong links to the area.

How would you describe the play?

It’s a self assembly crime thriller with a knitted set. We were inspired by the craze for Nordic noir with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Killing as well as TV shows such as Wallender, Borgen and The Bridge, so I suppose you could say our show is a kind of ABBA meets The Killing!

Tell me more about Inspector Norse’s links with the Blackpool area.

Inspector Norse premiered at Blackpool Grand over a year ago and the staff were fantastic, they really got behind the show. Part of the set is knitted and we needed local knitting groups to help us. Lots of people knitted for the show, which was so lovely. We need knitted leaves for our flat pack tree. People were coming to see the show mainly to see their knitting. They had never seen LipService before and didn’t really know what to expect, but now they are true LipService fans. We have been getting requests asking us to come back to the Blackpool area so they can bring their friends and family. So it’s great we are playing Lytham.

 How has the piece developed since its premiere at the Grand?

As with all LipService shows, the piece grows and grows. Also, because of the knitting, (and let’s be honest here, we’ve had a fair few random knitted items sent to us while we’ve been on tour!) we really don’t know what we’re going to get but we do try and work everything into the show. We now have a “spectacular” knitted firework display in the Second Act!

Some Norwegians who joined in a knitting fest in Edinburgh this summer
Some Norwegians who joined in a knitting fest in Edinburgh this summer

What inspired you to make knitting such a big part of the play?

In The Killing, the female detective wears a knitted jumper and you could even knit it yourself – there was a pattern for it in the Radio Times, so we knew we wanted a jumper in the show, but it was on our research trip to Sweden where we saw just about every shop had a knitted display, there was an exhibition of knitting in the local art gallery and even the men seemed to knit. We liked the idea of knitting invading the landscape and lives of the people in our play. We had the idea of working with local knitters to help create a knitted environment. It was just one of those mad thoughts you have – a sort of “wouldn’t it be great if… ” moment. We had no idea it would take off in the way it has done. The response has been overwhelming. Everywhere we’ve played, there has been a squishy parcel waiting at stage door for us with knitted leaves or woolly sparklers or – most recently – a new knitted jumper for our detective.

 What’s next for LipService – and will you be bringing it to this area?

This autumn we will be mounting a brand new production, The Picture of Doreen Gray, premiering at Oldham Coliseum Theatre and then touring nationally, coming to Blackpool Grand in Spring 2015 we hope.

Inspector Norse is at the Lowther Pavilion, Lytham St Anne’s on Saturday, February 15 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £16,  £14 for children. More information is available on the Lowther Pavilion’s website.

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  • Show Comments (1)

  • Blu

    I used french knitting to make a brain for the autopsy scene, when they were last in Blackpool. I hope it hasn’t unravelled yet!

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