Little Voice: funny, moving stage adaptation

The stage adaptation of the hit 1998 Michael Caine movie of the same name doesn’t fail to keep you entertained.

Director: Paul Robinson

Writer: Jim Cartwright

Starring: Polly Lister, Serena Manteghi, Sean McKenzie, Laura Crowhurst, Gurjeet Singh, Sion Tudor Owen

Running Until: August 19

Theatre: Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Although I have seen the movie years ago, I had forgotten most of what happens so sitting in the darkened theatre watching the events unfold in front of me instead of on the screen was refreshing and the play adaptation seemed to rely more on comedy from what I can remember about the film.

The plot follows the young, quiet Little Voice, or LV (Serena Manteghi), who lives with her alcoholic and in some ways abusive Mari Hoff (Polly Lister) in the northern town of Scarborough.

Despite her quiet demeanour and shyness, LV has a special talent and a fondness of records her late father gave her. She is able to mimic voices of celebrities while singing.

After being spotted by a talent agent Ray Say (Sean McKenzie , who is sleeping with her mother, LV is forced night after night to perform despite her objections.

Little Voice itself is indeed a success for the cast and crew with a standing ovation every night since it first opened and it’s not hard to see why.

With a simple set design of the inside of LV’s home, the show didn’t need excessive quick set changes simply because LV doesn’t ever leave the house.

However, the way the Round is set means some areas of the theatre were given restricted seats for vital scenes including when LV is performing.

Lighting was vital in the show for many reasons. The main being when the lights are out LV is able to sing and perform without any nerves.

The production relied on this with many scenes having minimal or no lighting at all.

One particular scene where the lights and electricity in her home explode makes the audience jump as it is completely unexpected. Actually bursts of electricity shoot out the various parts of the set.

The idea of the story if LV is trying to find her own voice and you cannot help feeling sorry for her. It’s never really explained why she is the way she is but you do feel for her.

Manteghi, who played LV, is a very talented actress with the ability to mimic voices just like her on-stage counterpart and even got teary at the end of the production when bowing.

LV’s cringe-worthy but funny conversations with the similarly awkward Billy (Gurjeet Singh) were particularly well executed and although he is somewhat of a stalker, you find their relationship to be something of pure innocence.

Although the villain of the show, Mari (Lister) stole the show and was the best character and whether it was through her drunkness or sex-manic outlook on life, she was an audience-favourite.

Similarly to LV and Billy, you can’t help but feel sorry for her. It’s obvious that she does love her daughter although she doesn’t often show it and when both the mother and daughter have reached a low point in their life, you don’t want both of them to be happy.

Something that is left ambiguous at the end of the production.

Despite not being a big fan of the film adaptation, the play was quite enjoyable and although there were some serious moments, the show relied heavily on the humour of Mari and Sadie (Laura Crowhurst).

A great production and whether or not you are a fan of the film, I am certain the play will not disappoint.


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