Little Theatre Company

Live theatre in the heart of Burton upon Trent

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice

by Jim Cartwright

Performed: June 2012

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice by Jim Cartwright

Review by Dave Stacey


FOR those, such as me, who haven’t seen the West End productions or the Michael Caine film, the play at Burton’s Brewhouse arts centre this week — The Rise and Fall of Little Voice — is full of surprises.

Burton’s Little Theatre Company delighted the first-night audience who laughed, clapped and oohed and aahed the brilliant acting and Jim Cartwright’s wonderful script.

The story is of a shy girl, missing her dead father and treated with disdain by her self-centred mother. The girl says so few words that she is known as Little Voice, or LV for short.

With no desire to mix, LV stays in her bedroom and endlessly plays records of her dad’s favourite singers — Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Dusty Springfield. Meanwhile she learns to sing just like them. That’s how we discover that Little Voice has a really big and exciting voice.

Sophie Towns plays this role superbly, bringing out the contrast between the lonely, unloved lass and the unexpected musical star within her. As the equally shy and tongue-tied telephone engineer Billy who falls for her, Daniel Tunks earns scores of laughs.

Another who has little to say — but has the audience in stitches with facial expressions and body language is Carol Brown as kindly neighbour Sadie.There is even one member of the cast who doesn’t utter a single word — Mark Pearson as the shade of LV’s dead father.

Others have plenty to say — Heather Gallagher outstandingly portrays LV’s over-active mother, eager for a hunky man and convinced she is so desirable that she’ll get one. The man she sets her sights on, a minor showbiz agent who wants the big time is splendidly played by Leon Ratcliffe, while the role of club owner and compere is vividly brought to life by Matt Bancroft.

There is a talented four-piece band led by the versatile Tim Robinson and the play is directed by John Bowness.

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