Theatre Review: The Rise and Fall of Little Voice - Grand Theatre, Blackpool

Grand Theatre - Beverley Callard and Jess Robinson in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice
Grand Theatre - Beverley Callard and Jess Robinson in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice
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Having made its award winning theatrical debut 20 years ago, successfully transferred to the big screen and become, with varying degrees of success a staple of provincial repertory theatre, expectations were always going to be high for this latest revival of Jim Cartwright’s slice of working class aspirations.

Even with him back at the directorial helm it’s a big ask for us to recall just how dependent acts could be on a social club spotlight when we’ve got the likes of The X Factor to save everyone all that hard work of slogging their way up the ladder of fame.

And how difficult it is to remember the excitement of getting your first landline telephone when mobiles and more are de rigeur.

But this is 1992 and mum Mari is all mini skirts and high heels, drunk as a skunk and desperate to snare a man before it’s too late, while her painfully shy daughter LV obsesses on divas and barely dares to leave her room.

The bar on most of the roles has been set pretty high by their predecessors but Beverley Callard totters and swears to great effect and Jess Robinson’s transformation from barely audible teenager to showstopping singer is a tour de force.

But there’s something lacking elsewhere and it could be chemistry. Philip Andrew is just too seedy as the small time agent Ray Say looking for a big break while comedian Duggie Brown plays it too straight as club compere/owner Mr Boo. That all leaves TV favourite Ray Quinn a shade high and dry as Billy, the only person who can see LV for what she really is.