Wilma’s Rating [rating=3]
Playing this week at the New Wimbledon Theatre is The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. Based on the 1998 film starring Jane Horrocks. It tells the story of a quiet young girl who keeps her self to herself and rarely ever leaves the sanctuary of her bedroom, playing the records her father left her when he died. Jess Robinson plays Little Voice (LV) in the current touring production alongside Beverley Callard (Liz Macdonald, Corrination Street) as the very funny, alcoholic mother Mari Hoff.
Mari Hoff thinks she has struck gold when she meets Ray, an up and coming talent agent, in the bar one night and brings him home, hoping he will be her meal ticket into the high life. Upstairs he hears LV singing along to the music and feels he has found a star. Getting her to agree to leave the house, let alone sing in public is a huge barrier that has to be overcome in order to gain success for all involved.
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is a story of how far you need to push someone to do the things they do not desire before they crack and go insane.
The acting is flawless, every cast member deserved praise for their performance with no weak link in the chain. Ray Quinn (2006 X Factor runner up and star of several musicals) plays Billy, the shy, quiet phone man who falls for LV beautifully.
Before the beginning of the show, cast members walk the audience, handing out raffle tickets, setting the scene of a dirty working mans club where the raffle prize is far from desirable!
The shows downfall is the lack of character progression that is shown during the piece. In act 1 Mari Hoff is the foul mouthed alcoholic mother who can barely string a sentence together without using an obscenity. However in act 2 her dialogue is poetic monologues about how LV was the head of the match that started the fire that destroyed her life. It is like two different people. The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is written and directed by Jim Cartwright.
I often talk about theatre etiquette and it is usually directed at the way audience members behave. I have found myself getting increasingly frustrated recently when I go to see a show but struggle to buy merchandise. The Rise and Fall of Little Voice had a selection on the main foyer bar. When I went to buy it at the interval I was told I could only pay by cash (which I didn’t have). At the start of act 2 a little song was sung and a shameless display of promotion for the merchandise (juggling teddy bears) was carried out, encouraging people to buy after the show (when the bar was closed and no merchandise available). What is the point of having merchandise for a show if you are going to make it near impossible to buy anything?! Even more frustratingly, the website shop has the simple message of ‘coming soon’ and as the show has been running since August I am guessing it won’t be that soon!
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is a lovely little show which has it’s faults but ultimately is very enjoyable and well worth seeing.