Theatre in Wales

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Stellar performances from the whole cast!

At Theatr Clwyd

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice , Theatr Clwyd Mold , October 15, 2017
At Theatr Clwyd by The Rise and Fall of Little Voice Jim Cartwright wrote The Rise and Fall of Little Voice specifically for Jane Horrocks when he discovered she had the unerring ability to mimic the voices of female popular singers.

So any subsequent production must have an actress who can reproduce with accuracy Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Billie Holiday, Shirley Bassey and Edith Piaf. Kate Wasserberg's spectacular new production has an ideal Little Voice or LV as she is usually called in Catrin Aaron. She brings perfectly to life the cripplingly shy, near silent young woman who spends her life mostly shut up in her bedroom listening to the LPs her dead father has left her. But when she performs a medley of diva songs in memory of her father she is simply extraordinary, the voices are hair-raisingly exact.

But as well as being LV's story it's also the tragedy of her mother, loud voiced, drunken, vulgar and no longer the desirable sexual object she imagines herself. Nicola Reynolds is terrific in the role, volatile, unafraid to fall drunkenly or literally fling herself at men and yet at the end letting us see the emptiness inside.

The other stand-out is Christian Patterson as Mr Boo, the MC of the club where LV gets her chance. At the start of the second half, immediately after the eye-opening transformation of Amy Jane Cook's set, he does a direct to audience routine of hysterical vulgarity.

Simon Holland Roberts is excellent as mum's sleazy boyfriend, a no-hope theatrical agent who sees his big chance in LV. There's a lovely deadpan performance by Victoria John as the next door neighbour, another near-silent person looking for friendship. The cast is completed by Joseph Tweedale as Billy, the only person who understands LV, he being as shy as she is.

Kate Wasserberg has directed some superb productions during her time at Theatr Clwyd and this mixture of broad comedy, music and deep emotions is one of her best. It augers well for her recent appointment as Artistic Director of Out of Joint.

Reviewed by: Victor Hallett

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