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The Rise and Fall of Little Voice

April 11th - April 16th

One of Britain’s greatest modern plays, The Rise & Fall of Little Voice, is embarking on a UK Tour. The Olivier Award-Winning comedy-drama from Jim Cartwright has earned international acclaim across the globe, including a Golden Globe winning smash-hit film starring Jane Horrocks and Michael Caine.

Meet Little Voice and Mari Hoff. A mother and daughter central to the heart of this Northern fairy-tale, but as far apart in character as can be. Little Voice leads a quiet and unassuming life, seeking companionship and joy from music’s most iconic singers, whilst Mari prefers the sound of her own voice, indulging in a life of booze, cheap thrills and seedy men. Left to her own devices, LV starts to embody the famous divas she plays on repeat, swapping the grey backstreets of Northern England for the bright lights of Hollywood and Broadway, all from the safety of her own bedroom. When Mari starts dating small-time club owner Ray Say, LV’s astonishing impersonations of Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland to name a few, are thrust into the spotlight. Transformed and sensational, LV might just be Ray’s one and only chance to hit the big time, but what will the consequences be for mother and daughter?

Starring TV favorite Shobna Gulati (Coronation Street, Dinnerladies, Loose Women), British soap royalty Ian Kelsey (Emmerdale, Casualty) and ‘the girl of a thousand voices’ and two-time Drama Desk Award Nominee Christina Bianco, as Little Voice.

Cartwright’s timeless and iconic tale explores the highs and the lows of small-town dreams, family rivalry and finding your voice in a noisy world.

With humour, heart and countless powerhouse ballads all performed live on stage, featuring music from Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Billie Holliday and many more, this life-affirming production will rouse even the weariest of souls.

 

Details

Start:
April 11th
End:
April 16th
Event Categories:
, ,

Venue

Festival Theatre
Grange Road
Malvern, WR14 3HB

Other

Price:
Monday Eve & Wed Mat: £28.00, £26.00, £23.00, £20.00, £17.00
Tues-Thurs Eves & Sat Mat: £30.00, £28.00, £25.00, £22.00, £19.00
Fri & Sat Eves: £32.00, £30.00, £27.00, £24.00, £21.00
Members’ discounts apply
£2 Concessions Over 60s/Unwaged/Under 26s
Prices includes 12% booking fee
Show Times:
Monday 11th - Saturday 16th April
Evenings 7:30pm
Wednesday & Saturday matinees 2:30pm

Event Reviews

  • The View From The Stalls

    Written initially to show off the undoubted vocal talents of Jane Horrock's voice, Jim Cartwright's The Rise and Fall of Little Voice went on to become a smash hit stage show in 1992, gathering an impressive tally of awards, including 3 Olivier awards, and that was before it was turned into the 1998 film (simply entitled "Little Voice") which hauled in 19 nominations and awards including a a Golden Globe for Michael Caine.

    Some 30 years later, the show is touring again, this time featuring Christina Bianco as "LV", the quiet petite girl with the powerful voice, Shoba Gulati as her mum Mari and Ian Kelsey as Ray Say, her mum's beau in a rather one-sided relationship and LV's potential agent and route to financial success (for him at least).

    The problem is, LV wants none of that. With her father no longer around, she prefers to stay cocooned in her bedroom and listen to the music he enjoyed and treasure the records he left behind for her. These are the classic female vocalists of an age gone by - Billie Holliday, Judy Garland, Cilla, even Gracie Fields - and not the Kylie and Jackson tunes which her mother prefers to listen to downstairs. There is no love lost between these two at all. Every time LV plays a record, Mari bangs on the ceiling telling her to stop. It'll end in tears for sure - or worse.

    Bianco plays LV brilliantly as the painfully shy girl, sitting alone in her room with her records and thoughts and Gulati makes the most of the opportunity to play the brazen hussy, most of the time intoxicated and dressed for a sleazy night out with only her friend Sadie (Fiona Mulvaney) for support. Sadie, however, can barely utter a word other than "OK" as a response to every question or statement.

    It is down to Kelsey as the unwilling boyfriend to attempt to bring out LV's voice to a larger audience, an action which, in the seedy environment of Mr Boo's nightclub (or rather the Working Men's club), is doomed to embarrassing failure. For LV simply cannot perform to others. She prefers to sing alone or in the dark but Say's only desire is to see him hit the big time as a impresario by getting her on stage.

    Eventually, in the second half, we have the pleasure of seeing the young quiet LV blossom, if temporarily, into the impressive singer that we all know she can be, blasting though show tune after show tune and accurately impersonating each of the singers that she so admires. But remembering that this show is the "rise and fall" of LV, we know it is not going to last. The same can be said of the impressive stage set - a two-storey house where (apart from a glitzy curtain representing the club's stage) is where all of the action , the verbal and physical abuse, the drinking, the arguments, takes place. This too ends in disarray by the end.

    There is, however, one glimmer of hope in a parallel story line. Billy (sympathetically played by Shobna's own son Akshay Gulati), who had been installing a phone line, suffers from similar issues of lack of confidence and can see there is a connection to be made with LV - she loves music, he loves lighting - and slowly but surely that relationship also blossoms.

    Bianco's transformation from quiet introspective child who barely speaks a word (and being of small stature herself easily carries off the impression of being a mere child) is quite remarkable. Standing on stage performing on her own, you get little idea of her size but when standing next to the rest of the cast for the curtain call, they certainly tower over her! Even having seen the film or a previous production, the audience knows what is going to happen but it remains a thrill to see - and hear - the classic songs delivered in such a dramatic way by one very talented actress.

    The tour is only in its first few weeks and - barring the unexpected 30 minute delay in starting - is already accomplished and set for a successful tour and with an eye for detail (the BT logo on the phone fitters' overalls was correct for the time the show was taking place) that makes it very convincing. Hopefully, the show's creator Jim Cartwright, who was in the audience for the first night in Malvern, will wholeheartedly agree.

  • James

    Brilliant play, saw the movie years ago and this was as good as that. The whole cast were amazing. Very funny and sad at the same time, loved it. Unfortunately the house was less than half full which is a shame, I think if people don't support the theatre then we are going to lose it and that's very sad. I understand times are hard at the moment but theatre is a great way to cheer yourself up.

    Love thus theatre more than the big ones in Birmingham. And I for 1 will be going here more than Birmingham theatres.


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