I loved the 1998 movie starring Jane Horrocks so it was a treat to watch the stage version on the opening night at Blackpool Grand Theatre.
The play, by Jim Cartwright, last toured in 2019 but this time is back with a stellar cast including US impressionist Christina Bianco, who gave a sensational performance as Little Voice - a role that she was born to play.
The plot is about a reclusive young girl who shuts herself in her bedroom, listening to old records left behind when her father died - and has a hidden talent for singing.
Impressionist Christina Bianco gave a sensational performance in a role that she was born to play. She was so convincing as Little Voice - a fragile northern lass for whom singing is no more than a comfort. And the scene where she finally speaks up to her mother was so emotive it brought tears to my eyes.
Shobna Gulati and Ian Kelsey gave a dynamite performance as the mother, Mari Hoff, and her new fella, Ray. Mari is a brash party-girl who leaves a drunken trail of destruction wherever she goes. She’s like the wicked pantomime villain an audience loves to hate. She’s so negligent towards her daughter that I almost want to call social services, and when she brings home the sleazy talent scout, Ray Say, he spots LV’s star quality.
But self-absorbed Mari doesn’t see it. When Ray said he’s ‘found the one’ she expects a marriage proposal but his mind is set on exploiting LV’s extraordinary talent for singing like her favourite divas.
Bianco was thrust into the spotlight, performing a medley of old songs. As she belted out songs from Liza Minelli, Shirley Bassey and Julie Andrews with finesse, I couldn’t imagine anyone more fitting for the role.
This show had everything - a fantastic plot, stellar cast and incredible singing, and first-class production. It runs at Blackpool Grand Theatre until Saturday 18 June 2022.