A thrilling new production of Jim Cartwright’s much-loved The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice opens at Birmingham Repertory Theatre tonight (15 May). The Olivier award-winning play about the painfully shy but hugely talented Little Voice and her faultless impersonations of the greatest divas will be directed by James Brining, artistic director of West Yorkshire Playhouse and stars Vicky Entwistle, Chris Gascoyne and Nancy Sullivan.
Little Voice spends day after day alone in her bedroom finding escape in the records that were left behind after the death of her father. The extraordinary voices of Judy Garland, Billie Holiday and Marilyn Monroe fill the rooms and Little Voice is transported. As her blowsy mother Mari shrieks and shouts her way around the house, Little Voice hears the musical heroines, and matching them note for note, sings… and her world is transformed.
When local talent agent Ray Say, Mari's latest boyfriend, overhears he sees a way out of this town; this is his chance for the high-life, his road to the showbiz big-time. All he has to do is find a way to take Little Voice with him. Persuaded by the tacky talent scout, pushed by an overbearing mother, a nervous Little Voice blasts out Bassey, but will she have the courage to find her own voice?
Jim Cartwright's award-winning comedy explodes with huge iconic ballads and beautifully crafted wit. Cartwright's darkly comic play was first produced in 1992 with Jane Horrocks as Little Voice, before winning an Olivier Award for best comedy and then becoming a film starring Jane alongside Michael Caine and Brenda Blethyn.
Director of The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, James Brining says of the production:
“The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is that rare kind of play that combines real humour and comedy with a heart breaking story as well as the power of music to transport an audience. It’s also got a political heart and we are loving finding all the ways that the play can speak to an audience today, almost 25 years after the original production.”
Nancy Sullivan stars as LV, a painfully shy girl with a bold and beautiful voice. Nancy’s theatre credits include The Wizard Of Oz (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Nikolai Foster’s recent production The Good Person Of Sichuan (Colchester Mercury Theatre). Other credits include the role of Eponine in Trevor Nunn’s Les Miserables in the West End from 2008 – 2010.
Playing LV’s mother, Mari, is Vicky Entwistle. Alongside playing Coronation Street’s infamous Janice Battersby Vicky Entwistle has also been seen in The Bill, her credits for the stage have included roles in Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, Bill Kenwright’s Funny Peculiar and Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables.
Joining them is Chris Gascoyne as Ray Say. Until recently Chris played Peter Barlow in Coronation Street and he has also been seen in the BBC’s long-running drama Casualty and New Street Law for Red Productions. On stage Chris has played Johnny in Mark Babych’s production of Frankie And Johnny In The Claire De Lune with other credits including The Rib Cage (Royal Exchange Theatre), Simon Stephen's first play Bluebird (Royal Court) and The Changing Room (Royal Court and West End).
The cast is completed with Joanna Brookes (Sadie), Brendan Charleson (Mr Boo) and Joanna Brookes (Sadie).
James Brining is Artistic Director of West Yorkshire Playhouse and The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice marks his fifth production for the theatre after the success of The Crucible, Sweeney Todd, Alan Bennett’s Enjoy and Talking Heads. Prior to his appointment, Brining was Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Dundee Rep. His productions of Sunshine On Leith and Sweeney Todd won TMA Best Musical Awards in 2007 and 2010 respectively.
For more information and to book tickets, visit The REP's website birmingham-rep.co.uk or call the box office on 0121 236 4455.
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