by Molly Wyatt
Act One have pulled it out the bag yet again with their incredibly produced show of Little Voice. Written in the 1990’s, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice by Jim Cartwright was a huge success with a film that followed to be just as popular, so it goes without saying that the amateur production, directed by Emma Lewis had a lot to live up to – and it certainly did not disappoint!
Performed at the YMCA, the play follows the story of a young, shy girl ‘LV’ (short for Little Voice), who spends her days in her bedroom listening to her deceased father’s records, hiding away from her alcoholic mother, Mari. When Mari, played by the exceptionally talented Sarah Bulmer, brings a man home, ‘Ray’, he hears LV singing and quickly becomes enthralled by her voice, determined to bring her to fame. Despite his sleazy, greasy appearance, Ray, played by James Aitken, demonstrated the fiery ambition to get LV on stage. Esther Morris (Quench’s very own Features Editor!) who played LV had the audience at her fingertips as she embodied the timid character so enchantingly, and made it very clear that she was less than keen to pursue a career in the showbiz industry, let alone perform at the local club run by Mr. Boo, played fantastically by Kane Malone.
Full of drunken antics, sexual flamboyance and heartache, the production evoked every sort of emotion. One minute the audience was yearning for Billy (played by Chris Brunskill), LV’s adorably awkward love interest, and next, erupting in laughter at the expense of Mari’s goofy friend Sadie, played by Sophie Callery. The casting was spot on and each actor embodied their character beautifully, not to mention that they all had their northern accents down to a T. Kane Malone had the charm and authenticity of a night show host, and as he engaged with the audience it was easy to forget that he was in fact acting.
This review could not go without praising the utterly spine-tingling performance by Esther Morris, as she sung a medley of well-known classics; personating each artist, she sung effortlessly and her phenomenal voice is worthy of a show in itself.
What sets this show apart from many amateur productions is its incredible production; the set, lighting, and sound was above and beyond expectation. The small details of a street light outside the window, to the intricate timing of the phone ringing, to of course, the dazzling disco ball at the end, was the cherry on top of this wonderful masterpiece.
A huge congratulations to Emma Lewis on directing such a momentous show, that was the perfect balance of comic ingenuity and emotional trials and tribulations.