Pros: Hilarious performances and an authentically written and designed production.
Cons: The quality of the sound is not as good everywhere in the theatre.
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at Greenwich Theatre is a rollercoaster of a performance. The high emotions swirling through the piece bring a fantastic energy to the overall production. Set in roaring Blackpool back in the 80s, Little Voice is a girl, very much trapped in the wrong era. Misunderstood and looked down on throughout her life, she hides an incredibly wonderful secret.
Greenwich Theatre is a definite reflection on the surrounding area: rugged and full of character. The auditorium is significantly larger than any other I have come across off-West End. With its atmosphere that’s very different to that of to your usual theatre pubs and converted living rooms, it’s the ideal location for the larger than life characters this production offers.
The set and lighting complement each other well. The detailed set is the inside of a torn apart house, in which the lighting defines the areas where the action is happening. The costumes alike are full of flavour. A bold statement on the era being portrayed, they are the perfect partner to these outgoing characters created by playwright Jim Cartwright. Being close to the stage, I found the sound absolutely clear, but I imagine that those sitting further back, especially in higher seats, may have struggled to hear exactly what the performers were saying.
The performances from all six actors are outstanding, no matter how big or small. Every movement and word plays an important part in bringing to life both the vibes of this era, and the characters themselves. Brimming with strengths and weaknesses, the characters have depths barely touched upon by the writing. Yet, in the non-verbal interactions, they’re so clear to see. The relationship between LV and her mother, Mari, is vindictive and brutal. There’s an element of such quiet desperation, both characters trying to find a connection to one another that was just never there. Sarah Moss’ performance of a quiet and timid LV is outstanding. The contrast to her big voice is such a beautiful thing to witness, and so very clever. Julie Armstrong’s brash and bigger than life Mari is hard not to love and hate. She drives the whole performance and her energy is a great source for all of the other performers to feed on. Cally Lawrence, as best friend Sadie, and Jud Charlton, as bruiser Ray, take the production to another level. Their ‘stereotypical’ characters have something different and something very, very funny about them. Lovable Bill, played by Oliver Burkill, and versatile Shaun Hennessey are the fantastic performers who complement this already strong cast. Their contrasting characters give much more depth to the story.
This production full of drive and fun deserves to be seen by a much larger audience than Greenwich Theatre can fit. A show full of hope, despite its rather haunting end.
Author: Jim Cartwright
Director: Bronagh Lagan
Composer: Eamonn O’Dwyer
Producer: Chipping Norton Theatre
Box Office: 020 8858 7755
Booking Link: http://greenwichtheatre.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1968:the-rise-and-fall-of-little-voice&catid=7:playingnow&Itemid=1
Booking Until: 9 October 2016