Sound and Fury: The Rise and Fall of Little Voice At Park Theatre
In Tom Latter’s stolid revival of Little Voice at the Park Theatre, relocation to Hull does a lot for the pitiable poverty, but nothing for the snappy Lancashire dialogue whose rhythms are displaced by a more randomly-accented cast.
Jim Cartwright’s 1992 play about a domineering mother and reclusive daughter put the Bolton playwright on the map, and made a star of Jane Horrocks, whose talent for mimicry, and skill in portraying the reclusive wounded girl, has never been eclipsed.
Rafaella Hutchinson’s LV is herself a little underpowered even for a teenager who spends all her time in her bedroom, and her interpretations of Shirley Bassey, Peggy Lee and Judy Garland are initially sketchy, so it’s difficult to understand why Northern Club owners would think she could be a cabaret act. Her real-life mother Sally George plays leopard-printed Mari suitably coarse and desperate, but just a little shy of the vulnerability that made Alison Steadman or Brenda Blethyn so wonderful to watch.
Maybe attitudes to withdrawal and depression, have changed in 25 years, but the play doesn’t have either the comic or the dramatic impact it did originally, and of course the fact that LV eventually sings like a diva is no longer a surprise.
Kevin McGonagle has a smart blend of sleaze and urgency as Ray Say (the Michael Caine part) but the treat of the night is Jamie-Rose Monk as the slightly backward neighbour Sadie, a marvellous observation throughout but when frigging to the Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’, just a moment of joy.
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Park Theatre, Wells Terrace, N4. Tickets £18.50-£32.50, until 15 September 2018.
Last Updated 22 August 2018