The Voice of comedy

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is an award-winning comedy by playwright Jim Cartwright – and it is coming to The Players Theatre, Thame, for five nights from Tuesday 10 September.

The play tells the story of a shy, reclusive girl called Little Voice, who lives with Mari, her larger-than-life, out-of-control mother. Mari’s sole purpose in life is to find another man, and her imposing personality has driven her daughter into a life of seclusion.

Desperately missing her late father, Little Voice spends time locked in her bedroom listening to his record collection and perfecting astonishing impersonations of famous divas, such as Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Dusty Springfield.

When Mari’s latest ‘catch’, small-time impresario Ray Say, hears Little Voice sing, he thinks she is his ticket to the big time and sets out to exploit her talent. Mari thinks Ray Say is her final chance to get a better life, while Little Voice just wants a normal life and to be loved – it’s clear that not everyone is going to get what they want.

Cartwright brings out the humour, pathos, and drama brilliantly – this is British drama at its best.

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice was first performed at the Royal National Theatre in 1992, directed by Sam Mendes, and, after transferring to the Aldwych Theatre, it went to Broadway in 1994. It has had several revivals since and was also made into a film in 1998, starring Jane Horrocks and Brenda Blethyn.

Between 2012 and 2013, a UK touring production took the play to Guildford, Sheffield, Newcastle, Torquay, Portsmouth, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton, Buxton and other venues. It has also been produced internationally in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Sri Lanka.

This is Cartwright’s second showing with Thame Players this year – in March they performed his earlier play Two to great acclaim.

Sue Deaney, who directs The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, said: ‘If you enjoyed Two, you mustn’t miss Jim Cartwright’s later play, and if you didn’t see Two, come and experience this play by one of our most respected and popular contemporary playwrights – it’s funny, sentimental and savage in equal measure, and you’re sure of a great night.’