Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Reviewed By Nikki Cotter
Octagon Theatre first presented their version of Little Voice back in 2012. Now as the theatre goes through an extensive refurb the production is relocated to Bolton’s nearby Albert Halls.
Returning to play the gentle voiced LV is Kate Elin-Salt who lives with her brash and boozy mother Mari after the death of her beloved father. LV takes respite from her mothers endless noise and nonsense by hiding away in her bedroom, listening to her late father’s record collection. One night Mari brings home artist manager Ray who discovers LV’s hidden talent for impersonating iconic female singers and decides it’s time she stepped out of the shadows and into the limelight.
The small cast is bursting with talent and tell this charming and at times gritty story with conviction and real heart. Sally George is a tour de force as LV’s brash mother Mari. Her continued descent into brattish hysteria is entirely captivating. She is crude, crass, yet utterly compelling and somehow lovable.
Katie Elin-Salt shines in the role of LV, morphing from hunched recluse to dazzling diva with ease. Her delivery of Somewhere Over The Rainbow is goosebump inducing perfection.
Sue Vincent gives a stellar performance as monosyllabic Sadie who burst into life to great comedic effect when her favourite Jackson 5 number comes on. Mark Moraghan convinces as the sly and smarmy Ray, ruthless in his pursuit for glory when his real intentions become clear. Ted Robbins’ star quality shines through as club owner Mr Boo while Akshay Gulati makes for a sensetive and lovable Billy, the only person who actually takes the time to really listen to LV.
Director Ben Occhipinti ensures the cast use Amanda Stoodley’s two story set to great effect, the lack of backstage area at the Albert Halls us managed well while the use of a motorised streamer curtain and sparkling mirrorballs transforms the stage for the club scenes to hugely atmospheric effect.
The cast during Friday’s press night had to contend with a thumping bass coming from the floor below through the majority of Act II and did so admirably there were also on a few occasions times when dialogue was lost in the expansive hall but this is nothing which can’t be addressed by the sound team.
Little Voice proves once again that the Octagon team have a great ability to produce high quality and enormously entertaining theatre no matter the venue. The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is funny, warm-hearted and beautifully delivered theatre. Another triumph for the Octagon.
Catch The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Albert Halls until Saturday 2nd February. Tickets available here.