Theatre review: The Rise And Fall of Little Voice at Blackpool Grand

The opening night of Little Voice at Blackpool Grand theatre was sensational, and US impressionist Christina Bianco was born for this leading role.

By Lucinda Herbert
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 4:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th June 2022, 5:03 pm
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice

I loved the 1998 movie starring Jane Horrocks so it was a treat to watch the stage version on the opening night at Blackpool Grand Theatre.

The play, by Jim Cartwright, last toured in 2019 but this time is back with a stellar cast including US impressionist Christina Bianco, who gave a sensational performance as Little Voice - a role that she was born to play.

The plot is about a reclusive young girl who shuts herself in her bedroom, listening to old records left behind when her father died - and has a hidden talent for singing.

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Impressionist Christina Bianco gave a sensational performance in a role that she was born to play. She was so convincing as Little Voice - a fragile northern lass for whom singing is no more than a comfort. And the scene where she finally speaks up to her mother was so emotive it brought tears to my eyes.

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Bianco became a YouTube hit with her diva impersonations, and her ability is out of this world. When she takes on a Judy Garland song, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the original record.

Shobna Gulati and Ian Kelsey gave a dynamite performance as the mother, Mari Hoff, and her new fella, Ray. Mari is a brash party-girl who leaves a drunken trail of destruction wherever she goes. She’s like the wicked pantomime villain an audience loves to hate. She’s so negligent towards her daughter that I almost want to call social services, and when she brings home the sleazy talent scout, Ray Say, he spots LV’s star quality.

But self-absorbed Mari doesn’t see it. When Ray said he’s ‘found the one’ she expects a marriage proposal but his mind is set on exploiting LV’s extraordinary talent for singing like her favourite divas.

Bianco was thrust into the spotlight, performing a medley of old songs. As she belted out songs from Liza Minelli, Shirley Bassey and Julie Andrews with finesse, I couldn’t imagine anyone more fitting for the role.

This show had everything - a fantastic plot, stellar cast and incredible singing, and first-class production. It runs at Blackpool Grand Theatre until Saturday 18 June 2022.