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Little Voice (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is now over twenty years old, but is as strong today as the first time when it was produced in 1992. Jim Cartwright's script is tempered in pace, with highlights of humour which lifts it from being straight drama.

LV lives with her loud, brash mother, doesn't go out and spends her time listening to the records that her father left her when he died. In the privacy of her bedroom she mimics the voices she hears, driving her mother mad. However when she is heard by her mother's sleazy new boyfriend, she is pressured into performing in public, which she hates.

Jess Robinson as LV is suitably small in stature but large in her vocal talents. A lot of the mimicry comes from inflection and actions but this does not detract from Miss Robinson's stunning vocals. She is equally as impressive though as the quiet retiring young woman dominated by her mother.

Beverley Callard as her mother Mari, is a over the top as befits the loudmouthed character. There is little subtlety within her the performance but she uses her comic timing to good effect. Simon Thorp's Ray Say is nicely played, showing the man more interested in furthering his own career than who he steps on to get there while Ray Quinn's Billy is beautifully understated, making him more empathic than I previously felt about the character.

Jim Cartwright has also directed this production and his intimacy with the script shines through as he brings out all the nuances. Morgan Large's set is complex but effective in it's construction.

The themes of Little Voice mean that it is not a particularly easy night's out but remains one well worth seeing, as there is still enough here to shout about.

- Helen Jones


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