Tragi-com­edy Lit­tle Voice is a big hit for PODS team

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Wow -

The run of ex­cel­lent stage pro­duc­tions from the Peter­bor­ough Oper­atic and Dra­matic So­ci­ety (PODS) con­tin­ued last 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 per­ma­soz­zled 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 zom­bielike 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 con- niv­ing, 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 wouldbe 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 last weekand trib­ute was paid to her role with PODS prior to cur­tain up. A col­lec­tion was also taken for blood cancer char­ity Blood­wise.

PODS’ next pro­duc­tion will be 9 to 5 The Mu­si­cal at the Cres­set in spring next year.

Re­view: Brad Barnes

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