Ellie Earl won’t just have to sing for the Arundel Players this summer. She will have to sing in the manner of the greats including Shirley Bassey, Edith Piaf, Julie Andrews and Cilla Black.
Ellie is playing the title role in their production of The Rise & Fall of Little Voice, a tale of despair, love and hope written by Jim Cartwright.
The production runs eight nights until Saturday, August 25 at The Priory Playhouse, London Road, Arundel.
Directed by Tony Bright, The Rise & Fall of Little Voice is set in a small northern town and is about a shy, reclusive girl, nicknamed Little Voice who lives with her larger-than-life mother, Mari, played by Michaela Cooke, whose sole purpose in life is to find another man.
Ellie misses her dead father, and Mari’s imposing presence drives Little Voice into seclusion. She spends most of her time in her room obsessively listening to her father’s old record collection of famous divas.
And there her real talent lies.
“Her mum is not a nice woman at all. She is very selfish and narcissistic. LV just sits in her room all day listening to her records, and they are her escape from the real world.
“This is her fantasy life, and she sings the songs in the voices of the singers. Ray, her mum’s new boyfriend, hears her singing and wants her to do her impressions of the singers in his club… but it is not really her thing. She is very introverted.
“She knows what her mum is like. LV just wants to keep herself to herself. I don’t think she is very happy. She blows up at her mum in the end, but she isn’t happy but she knows that she shouldn’t really say it.
“But the singing is her escape mechanism just to get away from everything. It is very much her thing.”
Ellie admits it is quite a challenge: “But it has been great. It takes a lot of practice. I have got to do Shirley Bassey and Edith Piaf and Judy Garland (among others), a lot of big stars from a few years ago. I just listen to the songs that I have got to do over and over again and just try to find what is distinctive about the singers, like the way they phrase something or if there is something a bit throaty or different about their voice. I usually record myself and then play it back and listen to myself and see if there is anything that I need to change.
“I found Shirley Bassey quite easy because she has got such a distinctive voice. The people that have got the more normal voices are the hardest.
“ I was going to do Dusty Springfield, but I just couldn’t master her. I found Cilla Black quite hard as well, but I am going to do her.”
Performances start at 7.30pm from August 18 to 25.
Tickets for The Rise & Fall of Little Voice cost £14 and are available from the Box Office on 07523 417926. To book online visit www.arundelplayers.org.uk.