The Rise and Fall of Little Voice

By Jim Cartwright

Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, until November

THE Rise and Fall of Little Voice is a touching tale – an intense mix of funny, sad and beautiful with some cracking northern humour.

Three distinct characters in a small, cluttered, claustrophobic house make for a colourful dynamic.

There’s half-cut, full volume Mari stotting round in her finest Bet Lynch garb, necking spirits and any men that will have her.

Her constant headache-inducing chat, love of her own jokes and inability to listen to anyone is exhausting.

Her daughter, Little Voice, could not be more different. Which is why the poor girl hides out in her bedroom, with only her dead father’s record collection for company.

She occasionally comes downstairs to sort out her drunken mother.

Little Voice represents one of those sad, silent souls who have been dealt a rubbish hand in life and simply slipped under the radar.

Until someone hears her sing. That someone may be Mari’s latest conquest and nasty medallion man Ray but his recognition of her incredible voice – and ability to imitate some of our best-known divas – projects her out of her bedroom and on to the stage.

Little Voice is not your average youngster desperate for her 15 minutes of fame. The terror she feels when the lights first come up is palpable.

The incredibly challenging role of Little Voice is mastered by Georgina Ambrey. The talented actor portrays the troubled, gentle soul perfectly. To watch her blossom into a confident performer who has finally found her own voice is a joy to watch.

Emily Pithon must be applauded for her brilliant, infuriating and highly entertaining Mari.

While Chris Porter nailed the creepy, conniving Ray Say.

These three central characters were supported by a brilliant cast – from the ‘Okay’ Sadie (Asha Kingsley) to the hilarious, sulky club musicians – Dominic Gately and Luke Murphy.

Eric Potts was a natural as Mr Boo – an MC at the social club. In his sparkly waistcoat, he wooed the crowd – and Keswick audience, causing much hilarity.

The play, directed by Zoë Waterman, has some incredible effects. I don’t want to give anything away but there’s a dramatic scene which is brilliantly and cleverly created.

I’ve never seen a cherry picker on stage before but the director made the most of hiring this one – to great effect. The final, striking, beautifully lit scene is wonderfully and literally uplifting.

Tracy Walker