The Rise & Fall of Little Voice

Date 30th June 2023
Society Battle Amateur Theatrical Society
Venue Battle Memorial Hall
Type of Production Play
Director Jane Richardson
Written By Jim Cartwright

Report

Author: Anne Lawson

Well Battle have managed to put the ‘D’ back into NODA – this being ‘drama’, the first I hope of many more to come. Listening to audience members the general consensus was affirmative, and this certainly was a winner. This play showed  professionalism from the cast of seven not only in acting skills but those of musical talent too. It was a roller coaster of emotions, very funny in both script and delivery, well maintained northern accents, no dress sense whatsoever, excellent vocalising, audience send-ups, unkindness, softness, ripe language and some athletic snogging - in fact a thoroughly enjoyable evening’s entertainment With an excellent single set that was transformed into a fire damaged room with just lighting effects and  using floor level front of stage as a second location –  Little Voice’s bedroom – just a made up bed with record deck and box of old albums worked perfectly, plus use of the side steps back to the living space on stage.  With just a single circular table with cloth and two chairs,  the Club MC with hand mic working from stage, steps, floor and auditorium this simplicity was perfect for a further location.

Well-worn Mari Hoff‘s living arrangements were poor – the living room was sparsely furnished with a two-seater sofa placed stage centre with kitchen units, fridge included with surfaces brimming with booze bottles, a small screen, electrical plugs sparking shorts and a box of mouldy cornflakes. Opposite was a radiogram. The set build was achieved by a team of members, and I have to say the wallpaper was brilliantly ghastly! With well designed and timed lighting and effects the fire smoke illusion was first class and the music co-ordination for Ruth Parsons playing the wonderful impersonations of Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland and Marilyn Munroe were finely executed as she drives mother Mari round the bend with her repeats and her dreams.

Mari Hoff is a good time gal,  non-stop talker, northern, quite opposite to her daughter’s persona, past her sell-by date was played superbly by Bertie Hustwayte. Her script was mammoth, fast and she never faltered.  She starts dating small-time club owner Ray Say and he overhears LV’s impersonations and is astounded and of course wants to showcase her at the Club. Mousy Sadie is the downtrodden neighbour – quietly but most effectively played by Debbie Scarboro and looked a treat in her socks and sandals, cardy and did an amazing dustpan and brush routine in sexily sweeping up spilled cornflakes.  Paul Goring was a natural MC Mr. Boo working the audience in his yellow sequinned jacket and spiv hair do – also doubling as telephone engineer.  Oli Albertella after his Me and My Girl success played a gentle young assistant taking a shine to LV giving her some much-needed love and confidence convincingly too. Finally, Rob Dyer was a greasy, chest bearing talent spotter who thought he was on a winner with an electric new act. His half of the sofa snog was hysterical. The interval entertainment was given by Manolito beautifully hammed up by Oscar Smith, man of many contrasts, at the keyboard who certainly let his hair down!