Writer: Jim Cartwright
Director: Jim Cartwright
Reviewer: Flip Miller
The entertainment starts even before the audience enter the auditorium. They are greeted by club owner Mr Boo, played by Duggie Brown. Brown does a sterling job of staying in character during these interactions. However he is forced to come out of character when asked by rather bemused theatre goers “I’m sorry, who are you?”. A quick explanation that he was one of the stars of the long forgotten and The Comedians and he dons the mantle of Mr Boo again and moves on to some more audience members.
Mr Boo then starts the show while the final audience stragglers are taking their seats with some audience participation. This sets the scene for you to believe you are the audience in his club.
The story, such that it is, is of Little Voice (LV), played by Jess Robinson, who is living with her widowed mother but is still grieving for her father. She like all young girls likes to play her music very loud but this is not the normal teenage music of the 80s but her father’s albums that she has inherited.
LV is painfully shy and never leaves the house. One night her mother’s boyfriend Ray Say, played by Simon Thorp blackmails her into giving a performance in Mr Boo’s club.While all this is going on there is a touching back story of friendship and hints of romance between the equally painfully shy telephone engineer Billy played by Ray Quinn and LV.
The cast is stellar with Beverley Callard playing Mari, LV’s over the top mutton dressed as lamb mother. It is a beautifully executed caricature of this character. Callard plays the part with great energy. Her dance routine with Sadie, Sally Plumb, is poetry in motion.
Thorp’s portrayal of Ray Say is very reminiscent of Boycie from Only Fools and Horses. His portrayal of Say does become very dark toward the end and you are really taken in by his menacing nature.
Quinn’s talents were not used to the best of his ability. Sadly the story and the script let this very talented cast down. The story feels laboured leaving you wishing that the dramatic conclusion happens, say, 45 minutes earlier.
The star of the show is Robinson as LV. Although there is very little to empathise with the character Robinson still plays the part to the best of her abilities. Her voice is amazing and so versatile. She really does sound like the singing divas she is mimicking. Finally she is given the chance to sing in her own voice. You are then treated to some amazing renditions that are as good as, if not better than the originals.
Runs until Saturday 15th June