Jim Cartwright's tale of Little Voice provides a humorous, yet moving, display of family life and undiscovered talent that captures moments of beautiful stage performance with family tragedy in perfect concession.
Widow Mari (Beverly Callard) and Little Voice (Jess Robinson) are a mother and daughter living in the north of England, their lives are difficult with each other after the loss of LV's beloved father. LV finds comfort in playing her father's records much to the dismay of her mother. It isn't until Mari meets a new man, Ray Say (Simon Thorp), that he discovers LV has an undeniable talent to sing just as well as the singers on record and promises a glittering showbiz career that Mari simply can't refuse for her daughter; albeit even if LV isn't willing to play along.
Beverly Callard captures the wickedness of Mari whilst maintaining her desperation for love and, ultimately, her misunderstood nature with terrific conviction and passion. Her character takes us from laughter about her intimate affairs and alcohol problems, to low and deep moments of a somber atmosphere when discussing her misfortune with marriage and motherhood. A strong figure head of the cast that leads with a live wire that Mari herself would be proud of.
The hidden gem in the cast is Jess Robinson as Little Voice. The shy and timid character comes alive when she hears the voices of Judy Garland, Tina Turner, Lulu, Marilyn Monroe and Shirley Bassey to name a few, her astonishing vocal skills are centre stage for show stopping moments throughout the play.
With added pre-show and interval entertainment from Mr Boo (Duggie Brown), the atmosphere is set for a night in such a northern social club with raffles and bingo played with the audience a great mood is set.
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice plays at Coventry's Belgarde Theatre until Sat 1 June.