Rise and Fall of Little Voice
by Jim Cartwright
Until November 20th at The Playhouse
Directed by Glynis Leyshon
by Ed Farolan
This is the kind of production where you go and see the show and come out feeling you got your money's worth. It's got all the elements of good playwriting: comedy, drama, music, and more. In short, that's entertainment.
British playwright Jim Cartwright weaves an interesting story about a shy, young woman, Little Voice played by Tabitha St. Germain, who can only express herself when she sings. And when she sings, she's vibrant, energetic, and mimics to the T the singing styles of Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe, and other singers. She even sang her French songs so well you'd thingkshe were a French torch singer!
Susan Cox stars as Mari Hoff, the loud, obnoxious, lusty, and overpowering mother. And boy, did she play the role so well Stanislavsky, were he alive, would be flabbergasted with her delivery.
Dean Paul Gibson dressed perfectly for the role, and brought out that sleazy, manipulative streak demanded of him as the talent agent, Ray Say. Leslie Mildiner as Mr. Boo brought the opening night audience laughing at his antics as owner and Emcee of the Night Club where Little Voice did her impersonations. And that ever versatile actress Lesley Ewen as Sadie. She was so different in Judith I didn't know it was her until I read the credits. Last but not least is Bruce Johnson, the Music Director, also playing the Musician in the play. Rarely do you see a musician and an actor rolled in one.
Ken MacDonald is a legend here in Vancouver for his creative sets, and in this production, both sets, the night club scene as well as the main set, Hoff's apartment where, at the end of the second act, a fire takes place, were just impeccable. The lighting design by Alan Brodie was fantastic, particularly in the night club scene where the audience becomes part of the scene, applauding and partaking of the act.
Congratulations again to Artistic Director Glynis Leyshon for a production well done!