Friday, 5 October 2012

Little Voice (theatre)

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is an Olivier award winning comedy, written and directed by Jim Cartwright. It was originally performed in 1992 and starred Jane Horrocks and Alison Steadman. Jane Horrocks went on to play Little Voice again in the 1998 film, alongside an amazing cast including Brenda Blethyn, Michael Caine and Ewan McGregor.

Little Voice (Jess Robinson) is a shy young woman who shuns the outside world in favour of staying home with her late father's record collection. She has a wonderful gift for mimicry and spends her time perfecting her impersonations of the singers on the records. Her outgoing mother, Mari (Beverley Callard - Coronation Street), despairs of Little Voice but when her current boyfriend, local talent scout Ray Say overhears the girl singing, he sees a rich future for them all. Ray sets up a gig in a dingy local club and even goes so far as to invite an agent from London. However, no one has asked Little Voice whether she actually wants to be a star.

Congress Theatre, Mon 5th - Sat 10th Nov, 19:30.
Thu and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices. Available online, by phone from 01323 412000 or in person from the Box Office.

1 comment:

  1. The stage play of Rise & Fall of Little Voice is a bit different to the film - Billy doesn't keep pigeons - but the essential storyline is the same. A welcome addition was the club staff who started both the acts with various cameos. Do get there early or you'll miss the raffle! Their brief appearances did make them more caricatures than rounded characters, but they worked hard to warm up the audience and this was a great scene-setting device.

    Jess Robinson is a sympathetic Little Voice and we both loved her transformation from mouse to fabulous diva. She is a talented impressionist with a great singing voice. Everyone from Judy Garland to Tina Turner was spot on and she was also convincing as the frightened introvert. Beverley Callard was also perfectly cast as Mari Hoff. After her early brashness, her later pathos was very moving and I really felt for the desolate Mari. Ray Say and Mr Boo were well played but I thought both could have made more of their characters, and Ray Quinn was cute as the diffident Billy.

    The two-storey house set is well designed with lots of interest, but is huge which I think may be the reason why the play was staged at the Congress, rather than the Devonshire Park which would have been much better suited to the audience numbers. We were scattered throughout the Congress auditorium so, however hard the actors worked, creating a good atmosphere was always going to be an uphill struggle and this was the only big problem with the evening. Hopefully this situation wasn't too disheartening for those on stage and audience numbers will pick up during the week. I believe there is a generous Groupon discount to take advantage of and Little Voice is definitely worth seeing!

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