The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at York Theatre Royal

Jim Cartwright’s Northern fairy-tale, The Rise And Fall of Little Voice, is one of my very favourite plays. The show centres around lovely Little Voice, a timid girl who is often left to her own devices by her mother Mari Hoff. Lonely Little Voice finds solace in listening to music and soon starts to embody the famous divas she plays on repeat, from Judy Garland to Shirley Bassey. Once those around her notice her incredibly unusual talent, Little Voice soon begins her journey to stardom… but is it all it’s cracked up to be?

The timeless tale explores the highs and lows of small-town dreams, family rivalry and finding your voice in a noisy world. It’s beautifully written, so it’s no wonder Cartwright’s play won both the Olivier award and Evening Standard award for best comedy when premiered at the National Theatre in 1992. Though it was a little while ago now, there are so many themes in the play still super relevant today, and new tours always put a fresh spin on the classic.

One of the best things about Little Voice is that the powerhouse ballads and impeccable impersonations are all performed live on stage! That’s why it’s so important for the role of Little Voice to be played by a fantastic actress with the talent to sing live on stage… enter Christina Bianco!

The two-time Drama Desk Award nominee’s extraordinary diva videos have been viewed over 25 million times on YouTube. Described as ‘the girl of a thousand voices,’ Christina has performed her amazing impressions on many major television programmes including The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Today Show.  She’s been in countless theatre productions but, most recently, she played the iconic role of Fanny Brice at the Theatre Marigny’s celebrated production of Funny Girl in Paris.

Christina Bianco will be joined by TV favourite Shobna Gulati (best known for Coronation Street and Dinnerladies from a TV perspective and, of course, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie! if you’re a theatre lover like I am) as her mother Mari Hoff. Shobna Gulati has a unique stage presence and the role of Mari is perfect for her – I can’t wait to see her perform in the role!

York-born Emmerdale & Casualty actor Ian Kelsey will also star in the production. Although Ian Kelsey has seen countless shows at York Theatre Royal this will be the first time he’s appeared on stage there.  “It’s my hometown and I’ve seen many, many pantos and shows at the Theatre Royal but never performed there before. I’m a little bit jittery about the maybe more critical eyes of people I went to school with or who I worked on the railway with. I also hope I don’t meet the theatre ghost, the Grey Lady,” he says.

Don’t miss the show when it comes to York Theatre Royal from 4th – 9th July!

Photograph credited to Anthony Robling

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