DCSIMG

Voice of despair

Beverley Callard as Mari Hoff, Jess Robinson as Little Voice and Ray Quinn as Billy in the 2012 touring production of Little Voice

Beverley Callard as Mari Hoff, Jess Robinson as Little Voice and Ray Quinn as Billy in the 2012 touring production of Little Voice

Tap-dancer, female George Formby impersonator, even a round of bingo, and Duggie Brown as the club compere: The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at Sheffield’s Lyceum this

Tap-dancer, female George Formby impersonator, even a round of bingo, and Duggie Brown as the club compere: The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at Sheffield’s Lyceum this

week seems determined to sell the ambience of a seedy working men’s club.

But for me that misses the point of this dark, heart-tugging comedy. It’s not about club culture; it’s about not fitting in, and being allowed to be who you really are.

This production turns loud, blowsy Mari (Coronation Street’s Beverley Callard), poseur wannabe impresario Ray Say (Philip Andrew) and neighbour Sadie (Sally Plumb) into

overblown cartoon characters with no redeeming features. Only Little Voice’s rescuer Billy (Ray Quinn) is a breath of fresh normality.

Little Voice herself (Jess Robinson), damaged, monosyllabic and able to sing like a dozen 1950s stars, resembles a child playing a mouse in a school play. Though her voice is

well up to the task and the voices she mimics come through loud and clear, her slick, exuberant club performance doesn’t chime with the character she presents.

The high spot for me was the wonderful fire effect in the second act.

It runs until Saturday, December 1

 

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