Comedy duo having a Wilde time with spoof

COMEDY ... The Picture of Doreen Gray is coming to the Customs House, South Shields.
COMEDY ... The Picture of Doreen Gray is coming to the Customs House, South Shields.

A COMEDY spoof of a classic novel is coming to a South Tyneside venue next week.

The Picture of Doreen Gray hits the Customs House, in South Shields, tomorrow and Wednesday.

The comedy, from award-winning duo LipService, is based on Oscar Wilde’s fantasy thriller, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

The show, being staged in partnership with Oldham Coliseum, stars Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding, together with a supporting cast of local actors in a mix of filmed and live action acting.

It follows Doreen Gray, who has it all – a drive time radio show and a high ratings lifestyle programme on Even More 4, but after hitting 50, Doreen finds her face no longer fits the bill.

At a school reunion, she stumbles across a youthful portrait of herself and makes a dark and dreadful pact with the picture.

Sue, who is artistic director of LipService along with Maggie, said: “LipService is a comedy duo and we do genre spoofs.

“This is loosely based on Oscar Wilde’s novel but obviously that has a grim outcome. We’re comedians, so ours has a happy outcome.

“It’s about Doreen Gray. She’s a radio presenter and has a show a bit like Top Gear meets Antiques Roadshow.

“The producers decide she’s looking jaded and want a younger model. It’s then she goes to a school reunion.

“It celebrates age and experience, women and life. It’s very funny, there’s lots of brilliant songs and dances and very funny visual gags – which I won’t give away.”

LipService have already brought the successful Inspector Norse, Move over Moriarty and Withering Looks to the Customs House.

The show is directed by Gwenda Hughes, who also directed Inspector Norse and Move Over Moriarty, with music by Tayo Akinbode.

Customs House executive director, Ray Spencer, said: “We’re thrilled LipService are returning to the Customs House and delighted Maggie and Sue will be working with local budding actors too.

“They have been working together and touring shows for almost 30 years and create truly funny theatre. Their shows are a must-see for anyone who loves the classics or comedy plays.”

Members of the Customs House Community Choir will be appearing in the show.

The group’s chairwoman, Margaret Cramman, said: “We had a great opportunity when we got to appear in Get Up And Tie Your Fingers as part of the Follow The Herring project and everyone was really keen to get out there and do something else.

“They’re very pleased to be part of this show and are having a lot of fun working on it. It’s going to be a really fun show and everyone is excited to have the opportunity to get back on the stage.”

The show starts at the Mill Dam theatre at 7.45pm each night.

Tickets cost £14 with a £13 concession. To book, go to or call the box office on 454 1234.

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki