The Rise and Fall of Little Voice
Perth Theatre, until Sat 29 Mar, then touring
Scotland’s own Terry and June, Elaine C Smith and Andy Gray are brought together for this touring production of Jim Cartwright’s now familiar urban fairytale, which focuses on a young girl who discovers a talent for impersonating an eclectic range of singers, from Edith Piaf to Judy Garland.
Relocating from its previously Northern setting, Elaine C Smith plays a very Scottish version of Little Voice’s mother, and is keen to emphasise the tragi-comic nature of the play. Smith says, ‘Scottish audiences love a good laugh and a good greet, and Jim Cartwright does that. One of the pitfalls of Mari Hoff is that she’s actually very funny, and she’s very tragic by the end as well. She’s the architect of her own downfall, but if the tragedy’s overplayed, by the end you just think, “Oh you stupid cow you’ve done it to yourself.”’
Andy Gray, who plays Mari Hoff’s sleazy boyfriend Ray Say, feels the play resonates with audiences due to its universality. Gray says, ‘Cartwright really shoots from the hip. It’s a real study in life; there are elements of all the characters in the play that people will recognise, and I think it works very well in a Scottish setting.’
With both stars clearly enjoying their work, Smith has high hopes that the feeling will travel beyond the footlights. ‘Audiences can tell that you’re having fun, and even though there’s quite a violent scene between us, and you can feel the shock, it’s a really nice play with the audience, and in the end they’re the most important thing.’