Review: The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at Lowestoft’s Marina Theatre

Jess Robinson as Little Voice

Jess Robinson as Little Voice - Credit: Archant

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice tells the story of shy Little Voice, who spends most of her time immersed in her late father's record collection and perfecting her astonishing impersonations, much to the dismay of her fun-loving, out-of-control mother Mari.

Overheard singing by Ray Say, a hapless talent scout and Mari's man of the moment, Little Voice is propelled to stardom as Ray sets about creating the show of the century in a dingy local working men's club.

Illness forced a last minute change of cast for last night's (April 8) performance at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre but even though the roles meant for former Coronation Street star Beverley Callard and X Factor finalist Ray Quinn were filled by their under-studies, the performance didn't suffer at all.

Despite it being a cold Monday night in Lowestoft, we laughed and cheered our way through the whole performance.

As soon as we entered the theatre auditorium, the entertainment began and we were encouraged to believe we were in the working man's club where Little Voice later performs.

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Comedian Duggie Brown cracked jokes as typical northern club compere Mr Boo, assisted by dizzy blonde Ruby Lee, played by Catherine Morris.

A bit of audience participation helped everyone to relax and get in to the spirit of the night, including a raffle at the start and a game of bingo during the interval.

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Beverley's role of Mari Hoff was ably played by Sarah Dearlove, who gave a convincing performance as Little Voice's brash and drunken mother. Despite her lack of care for her daughter, it was impossible not to feel sorry for Mari as she paraded around in too-tight dresses trying to win the attention of the unworthy Ray Say.

The part of Little Voice's timid love interest Billy was equally well performed by John Cockerill.

Jess Robinson dazzled as shy Little Voice, who struggles to speak but comes to life when she sings. Impressionist Jess was a suitably awkward Little Voice and gave uncanny impersonations of world famous divas, including Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland, Julie Andrews and Marilyn Monroe.

Simon Thorp was perfect as the sleazy and dastardly Ray Say while Sally Plumb had the audience in fits of laughter with her performance as Mari's mute friend Sadie, whose understated expressions and surprising dance routines were one of the unexpected highlights of the show.

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