LV comes home to standing ovation

Little Voice is at the SJT until 19 August.
Little Voice is at the SJT until 19 August.

Filmed in Scarborough – the all-star 1998 film brings back fond memories. The stage version of Little Voice continues to beguile the British public. The latest rendering at the Stephen Joseph Theatre elicited that rare accolade in Scarborough – a standing ovation.

Serena Manteghi, as the eponymous heroine (LV) is required to swing wildly between elective mute and extrovert diva.

She does it so well that when she is in her bedroom playing her father’s records, it is difficult to visualise her belting out Big Spender or Je Ne Regrette Rien in front of a night club audience.

Her delicate relationship with Billy (Gurjeet Singh) provides the counterpoint to that of Mari, her mother, and boyfriend Ray Say.

Drunken and brassy, Mari’s (Polly Lister) role gives shape and forward momentum.

She offers some marvellous fun as she dances with her friend Sadie (Laura Crowhurst) and abuses all around her. Polly Lister generates the energy and lust for life that redeem Mari’s vulgarity.

Ray Say (Sean McKenzie) and club owner Mr Boo (Sion Tudor Owen) are not the greasy chancers of other productions, but they certainly recognise a meal ticket in LV.

I do not know if it was director Paul Robinson’s intention, but I almost felt that they had a genuine desire for LV to succeed that transcended their own self-interest.

The set (Tim Meacock) and lighting (Jason Taylor) were anything but minimalist.

Exploding electrical appliances and fusing lights became crucial plot devices and torches, and floodlighting provided running motifs and a spectacular conclusion.

The cabaret scene stands at the apex of the plot and live audiences are rightly impressed with an actor who can detonate the voices of Shirley Bassey, Edith Piaf, et al

The cast of the Rise and Fall of Little Voice deliver the full package.

Little Voice continues in repertory at the Stephen Joseph Theatre until August 19.