The run of excellent stage productions from the Peterborough Operatic and Dramatic Society (PODS) continues this week at the Key Theatre studio with The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.
It is a classic of recent times, perhaps best known for the 1998 film starring Michael Caine, but the tragi-comedy works very well on stage.
And the genre is seen at its best in the performance of Amanda Villamayor as perma-sozzled dreamer Mari Hoff. Her physicality lends itself perfectly to the extrovert, larger-than-life character and she generates the most laughs, many at the expense of friend and neighbour the zombie-like introvert Sadie, played very straight faced by Heather Knapp.
Mari’s torchlit breakdown, when her world comes crashing down, is a highlight.
The object of Mari’s longing is small-time theatre agent Ray Say, who as anyone who knows the story will know, is only interested in Mari’s daughter, and making money out of her hidden singing talent. Doug Pattie plays the conniving, charming Ray well, but could have been meaner when he heartlessly dumps Mari in what should have been a very powerful scene.
Little Voice, the timid recluse with an unexpected and extraordinary talent - doesn’t stretch Claire Brough but she does get a chance to show off a great singing voice with excerpts of instantly recognisable songs from Bassey, Garland and Monroe (her character’s idols).
Harvey Jones is charming as LV’s shy friend and would-be love interest Billy, while Alex Broadfield is spot on with his portrayal of northern working men’s club supremo and compere Mr Boo.
It is a clever set, and well lit, so credit too to the off-stage team, including Jennie Dighton, who only took over as director last month, when Sandra Samwell was diagnosed with leukaemia. Sadly Sandra died on Monday and tribute was paid to her role with PODS prior to curtain up. A collection was also taken for blood cancer charity Bloodwise.
You can see The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Key Theatre studio tonight, Friday and Saturday night, plus a Saturday matinee. Tickets from the box office online at www.vivacity-peterborugh.com on on 01733 207239.