The Rise and Fall of Little Voice by Jim Cartwright.

Suffering, poverty, grief and alcoholism predominantly run through the entire performance of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. Christina Bianco in the role of LV certainly has a hard act to follow from the 1999 iconic film performance by Jane Horrocks. However, Bianco doesn’t fail to deliver with an incredible and moving range of voices.

LV’s overbearing and obnoxious drunken Mother Mari (Shobna Gulati) dominated much of the first half of the performance. Which became frustrating and repetitive, sometimes “less is more” and I feel reducing her lines wouldn’t have taken away from the impact of her role. Although in fairness Gulati’s performance as a “drunk” is excellent and certainly not an easy role to perfection.

Mari’s long-suffering “put upon” friend Sadie (Fiona Mulvaney) adds some light and comedic relief to the stage. Her dialogue is brief yet her facial expressions and mannerisms speak a thousand words. Mulvaney is one to properly watch as it would be easy to miss some of her subtle yet poignant body language. Word of warning though watch out for the vomit!

We have the displeasure of meeting Mari’s latest potential new boyfriend “wideboy” wanna be big-time agent Ray Say (Ian Kelsey). Every preconceived idea about how these types operate comes true as Kelsey effortlessly brings “sleazy” Ray to life. The only person he truly fails to fool is LV.

From LV keeping her room tidy and preening her late Father’s record collection. To the slovenly given up attitude by Mari. Grief flows throughout the house without either knowing the best way to work through their emotions. It’s safe to say Mother and daughter are never going to properly understand each other.

Not all knights in shining armour appear on a horse with a lance. Some have scaffold ladders! Telephone engineer Billy (Akshay Gulati) falls for LV after installing a phone in the house. His strong and patient presence throughout the performance is a welcome relief to all the chaos that unnecessarily takes place around LV.

Every attention to detail has gone into creating an incredible set by Sara Perks. The fragmented outline of the house has been juxtaposed against the relationships battling and shattered against each other inside. It creates an overall insight into Mari and LV’s every day “unideal” lifestyle. Neither of whom is happy, fixed or fulfilled

Overall it’s been extremely well cast, staged and performed. For further information please use the links below.

Four Stars.

https://www.mayflower.org.uk/whats-on/the-rise-and-fall-of-little-voice-2022/

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