Writer and Director: Jim Cartwright
Reviewer: Jessica Jane
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is the heart -warming story of the painfully shy LV (Little Voice), who’s only escape from the reality of losing her Father and living at home with her stifling Mother, Mari, is locking herself away and listening to her record collection. She finds her only way to be heard is through her extraordinary impersonations of her beloved female idols. LV’s talent has gone unnoticed by her Mother, who is wrapped up in herself and the drink. When Mari’s latest boyfriend Ray Say, who happens to be a small time agent, overhears LV he believes he can make her a star.
As a big fan of the film, I admit to having high expectations of the play, this being my first outing to watch it onstage. I found it hard not to compare the performances of Jane Horracks and Brenda Blethyn to those in this production and on a whole, I have to say I was not disappointed. It was refreshing to be able to attend the theatre to see a good play with some loved music rather than just another all singing, all dancing juke box musical. With direction from the playwright Jim Cartwright it was good to see the play being told in exactly the way the writer had intended with just the right balance between comedy and gritty drama.
Jess Robinson (Little Voice) delivered an outstanding performance, I thoroughly enjoyed watching her throughout, she is believable as the timid young girl but also very entertaining during her vocals, demonstrating a fabulous voice as well as some great impersonations of the likes of Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey and many more! Ray Quinn(Billy) was lovely as the sweet, young lad and it was nice to see him play the understated rôle so well. Beverley Callard (Mari) plays the brash, vulgar Mother with gusto and dealt with the sometimes lengthy dialogue well. There are also some superb comedy moments between Callard and the hilarious Sally Plumb, who plays Sadie the loyal but rather dim best friend.
I do feel that these performances were let down slightly by some aspects of the production. The set was simple and most of the time was all that was needed. However, I had rather hoped after a short first act that when we returned from the interval back into Act Two and the story evolved to Mr Bo’s club that we would be treated to a scene change. Instead the club scenes were performed in front of the house and our indication of the scene change was through a series of flashing lights and the same piece of music, which got a bit tedious after a while.
My only other disappointment from the evening came from the surprise of not being able to purchase a programme at any point during the evening. However, there was an opportunity to buy a teddy bear or a mug which was shamelessly promoted in the show itself.
On the whole, a very enjoyable night out at the theatre, fun and moving.