REVIEW: Little Voice, Barn Theatre, Southwick

The cast for Southwick Players' Little Voice, before director Tony Bright stepped into the role of Ray Say
The cast for Southwick Players' Little Voice, before director Tony Bright stepped into the role of Ray Say

YOU know you have seen a good play when you end up feeling you have been through the same turmoil as the characters.

Such was the power of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, it was actually handy to have a helping hand to guide me out afterwards.

Receiving a richly deserved standing ovation, the Southwick Players’ performance was one of the best I have ever seen at The Barn Theatre in Southwick.

Every members of the six-strong cast played a blinder, under the direction of Tony Bright, who had to take to the stage himself at the last minute.

Just a few weeks before opening night, Tony had to take over the role of Ray Say but being the stalwart performer that he is, this was no problem for him.

He joined a stellar cast, topped by Claire Lewis, a long-standing thespian making her acting debut with Southick Players.

She was just stunning as Mari, LV’s drunken mother, holding nothing back as she staggered around their home.

Bob Woodman, working with the Players for the first time, made the perfect side kick, Mari’s long-suffering neighbour Sadie.

Richard Lindfield, who has directed for the Players before but not acted with them, took great command as night club owner Mr Boo, while young Laurence Bown, as Billy, showed great control and potential for the future.

Finally, there was Little Voice, so little in fact, that you did wonder where on earth that amazing voice came from.

Zöe Saunders, who has had a number of roles with the Players over the last four years, really enabled us to see the transformation from shy girl to star performer.

She played it just right, making LV a rather hunched up little thing until she sang and then, she managed to get the different voices needed to portray LV’s favourite singers, too.

There was a brilliant cabaret sequence both as the audience entered and during the interval – a nice touch.

And Len Shipton deserves high praise for the set design. The way the fire was projected was incredibly effective and the turn around to reveal the fire-damaged home was faultless. The team even managed to project the smell of a burned out home into the audience, amazing.

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