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Review: The Rise and Fall of Little Voice – Theatr Clwyd

With Little Voice being the latest production to grace the stage of the Anthony Hopkins Theatre, we expect glitz, glamour and some fabulous costumes. 

By Kara Beth Davies, Egwyl Editor | Kara_Davies

“Hiya, love, we’re on…toodle-pip.”

Set in the North of England in the 1980s, where dreadful shell suits are worn, alcohol is consumed like water and the adjective ‘crappity’ is coined, this production follows the story of Little Voice, a shy woman with an extraordinary talent.

The costumes are unmissable. If it’s not a hot pink and mint green shell suit, it’s a silk, leopard print dressing gown and then there’s double denim; a trend of the time, but an absolute fashion faux pas of today. Every aspect of the spectrum is covered. The costumes are almost as eccentric as the characters themselves.

Mari Hoff (Nicola Reynolds) is definitely one of those quirky, loud and hilarious characters. She’s very much living in the moment, despite the consequences that may follow. She’s the mother to Little Voice, but acts more like the parent that still thinks she’s a teenager with all the drinking, wild nights out and outlandish behaviour. Reynolds has made this character her own, her one-liners, puns and costumes are hilarious. A very comedy driven character and a real audience favourite. Aside from her comedic role, she does have a raw, emotive scene in the second half with Ray Say (Simon Holland Roberts). It’s an uncomfortable watch and horrific situation, but an important part of the plot to be exploited. That mask of Mari is broken down, she’s stripped bare, vulnerable. Credit to both Reynolds and Roberts for their commitment to bring us something we don’t expect.

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Photography: Manuel Harlan

Then there’s Little Voice (Catrin Aaron), also known as LV. She’s shy, has very little confidence and keeps herself to herself, the countertype of her mother. There is an innocence about LV, locking herself away in her room every night to listen to her father’s records of some of the best female singers of the earlier generations, arguably of all time. She not only hides herself, she hides an incredible ability. The ability to imitate the voices of theses singers, like Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Shirley Bassey. LV’s awkwardly cute romance with telephone engineer and fan of lights, Billy (Joseph Tweedale), both of whom are transfixed with each other from the moment they meet, is absolutely charming to watch. They grow together as their love blossoms.

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Photography: Manuel Harlan

The first half of Little Voice has all of the interaction between all of the characters, as you’d expect. However, the second half includes a lot of audience participation! Our sing-along to Sweet Caroline being something the packed out Anthony Hopkins Theatre loved immensely. Mr. Boo (Christian Patterson) being the ringleader of all the fun at his very own club. Both Boo and Ray give off the representation, especially with their tone of voice, of a pair of very sleazy, cheesy radio DJs!

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Photography: Manuel Harlan

The funky, techno music transitions between scenes are enough to get you up out of you seat dancing. Plus that dance routine to It’s Raining Men from Mari and Sadie (Victoria John), you will not be disappointed! Sadie is possibly the most underrated character of the show, ‘ok?!’

But, let’s not forget the fundamental point of this production, Little Voice’s unique gift is also her downfall. It’s not all comedy, there are moments that will shock you. Some characters are taken to their lowest points, made to feel worthless and unappreciated. At times, you forget that you’re watching a theatre performance, there are moments where it feels like real life, that is how incredible these actors and actresses are.

Expect fruity language, perms, comedy and tears, there’s a rollercoaster of emotions with Little Voice. The cast of six are fantastic! There is at least one character you can relate to. I can’t remember the last time I saw something quite like this and left feeling absolutely mesmerised with the amount of talent on display. What a unbelievable piece of theatre, Theatr Clwyd has done such a spectacular job with Little Voice, it’ll take some beating.

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is running until October 28, ticket information and more details can be found here.

Christian Patterson joined us for a chat and a round of quickfire questions! Watch them both below.

 

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