UK playwright Jim Cartwright described his play as a contemporary fairytale where Little Voice retreats into her safe space similar to the fairytale tradition of the maiden in the tower.
LITTLE VOICE, as it is best known, was a huge success winning the Olivier award for Best Comedy and the Evening Standard award again for Best Comedy . It is a play that has had numerous productions all over the world including Australia and was made into a .film directed by Mark Herman in 1998. starring Jane Horrocks and Brenda Blethyn.
These are big shoes to fill and the Darlinghurst Theatre Company believes that it has the cast to split the seams of those shoes. Playing Marie the .boozy alcoholic mother of Little Voice is theatrical royalty Caroline O’Connor. She is thrilled to be in this production as she can throw off her musical theatre credentials and sink her teeth into a truely gritty role.
At the time I attended the rehearsals Geraldine Hakewill as Little Voice had the mimicry of divas such as Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe down pat. When I asked her how she achieved her accurate renditions, she surprised me by saying that some of her inspiration came from drag queens . Best known for her role in the tv series Wanted, co-starring Rebecca Gibney, she has also regularly performed with the STC, Belvoir, Bell Shakespeare Company and Melbourne Theatre Company.
This production is helmed by experienced director Shaun Rennie who by coincidence at one time sang in a choir together with Geraldine Hakewill so that knew of her musical talent well before this production.
The cast is rounded out by Joseph Delre playing the cruel and exploitative character Ray Say, Charles Wu as Billy who pines for Little Voice, Kip Chapman as Mr Boo and Bishanyia Vincent as Sadie.
This musical comedy has heft due to its touching concerns with loneliness and the yearning for love, timeless themes despite its 1990s setting.
Featured image. Shaun Rennie top right with the cast of ‘The Rise Of Little Voice’. All pics by Ben Apfelbaum