Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"The Rise and Fall of Little Voice" - March 2007

It takes a lot of courage to step into the shoes of Jane Horrocks in the role of LV that was written for her, but, and lets get this out of the way right at the start, Denise Hoey's vocals are nothing short of incredible. However this isn't a one woman show and although truly stunning, the singing set pieces are only a small part of this performance.

There are some very clever aspects to the staging of this show by Visible Fictions at the Citizens (and touring) - notably the effective use of a narrator and a well conveyed "upstairs" room. The other main conceit is the use of a sound effects track that accompanies the characters actions when opening bottles, cupboards etc, and while funny at times and truly inspired on one occasion it's a lot of effort for something that wasn't entirely necessary and I think the single inspired use would have been just as good on its own.

The acting was good throughout but I could really have done with having the portrayal of Mari (LV's mother) dialled down a level or six. Playing her OTT for comic effect did achieve the desired laughs but I feel it lessened the impact of the neglect and abuse of LV.

I'm not going to go on for pages and pages about just how good Denise Hoey's singing performance is (although I could). Suffice to say it is everything you could hope for and more. But I would like to take the time to highlight her acting performance as the quiet, unspeaking LV. This was every bit as impressive as her strong vocals and in very subtle ways conveyed the introverted and frustrated LV to the audience.

Before attending this I had concerns - musicals are not really my thing and I was afraid this might be a little too close to musical theatre for comfort. But I was completely won over by a remarkable individual performance and strong supporting cast and I'm fairly confident that in many years time I'll still remember seeing this show.
If you want to hear a little flavour of Denise Hoey's vocal talents from the show, there is an interview/performance piece she did for Radio Scotland posted on Denise' Website in the blog section. And while you're there don't miss her excellent short film "Ten Thousand Pictures of You" that plays on the front page and which has been entered in the MyMovie Mash Up Short Film Contest.