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The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Theatre Royal Windsor

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 19th Mar 2013 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood


This production is an extraordinary piece of theatre – from Jim Cartwright’s hysterically funny first act and his incredibly moving and increasingly dark second act to the brilliant casting of his beautifully drawn characters.

The Rise and Fall of Little VoiceBased around the reclusive Little Voice, who spends her life locked in her bedroom impersonating the famous divas contained in her late father’s record collection, it tells the story of what happens when her dreadful mother begins dating a small time club agent who forces her into performing.

Whoever plays the role of Little Voice has to be the most talented and versatile of actresses. Not only does she have to play a painfully shy young girl, she also has to be a singer and a gifted mimic, imitating the likes of Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland, Julie Andrews, Lulu, Cilla Black, Edith Piaf, Marilyn Monroe and Barbra Streisand. And Jess Robinson, already a veteran of BBC’s Dead Ringers, The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson and ITV’s Headcases, does it all – so convincingly that I totally believed in her character and really felt for her. And when she finally sang, well, I had goose bumps and a lump in my throat both at the same time.

Jess does well to emerge as such a star alongside the phenomenon that is Beverley Callard! Uproariously funny as Mari, LV’s loud, colourful, drunken mother in the first act, exuding warmth and fun as a merry widow, in the second act she became increasingly the mother from Hell, just out for her own gratification and no longer a likeable character.

The production also benefits from performances from Simon Thorp as Mari’s posturing boyfriend, and winner of ITV’s 2009 series of Dancing on Ice (!) Ray Quinn as LV’s equally shy and oh so sweet friend Billy. But that’s not all. The show is presented as if in a northern club and members of the audience are treated to a raffle and a game of bingo, club acts such as playing the spoons and the services of master of ceremonies, Duggie Brown, still famous for his part in the seventies TV series The Comedians.

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice will take you through the whole gamut of emotions, so if you feel like a good laugh and a good cry as well as watching some memorable performances, this is a production not to be missed.


The Rise and Fall of Little Voice continues at the Theatre Royal Windsor until 23 March and then tours:

25-30 March: The Opera House, Buxton

15-20 April: Lighthouse, Poole

29 April-4 May: Opera House, Manchester

6-11 May: Churchill Theatre, Bromley

28 May-1 June: Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

3-8 June: Theatre Royal, Glasgow



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