Skip to main content

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice


Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Four stars

It’s the quiet ones you have to watch in Jim Cartwright’s scabrous treatise on grief and finding salvation through song, revived here by Gemma Fairlie as the second show of Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s summer season. At the start, at least, LV, the painfully shy young woman that gives the play its title, is all but ignored amidst the clamour caused by her drunken mother and the big-talking men she brings back to a house with dangerously shonky wiring.

While LV stays silent, she loses herself in the records once owned by her now dead dad. Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland and Edith Piaf were his favourites, camp icons all, and when LV sings, it’s as if she’s channelling the spirit of both them and him. It’s local lothario Ray Say and sleazy club compere Mr Boo who have stars in their eyes, however, as LV runs terrified from the spotlight.

Written and set in a pre-internet and pre-reality TV talent show age, Cartwright’s play is a potty-mouthed riot. While a rites of passage for LV and telephone engineer Billy, who offers her light in every way, it’s a self-destructive screaming match of failed ambition for everybody else. With each scene segued by a slow-motion lurch into the next, the play itself dove-tails between sit-com, rom-com and soap opera.

As LV’s mother Mari Hoff, Deirdre Davis is a ravaged explosion of back-street disappointment with a crow’s nest bouffant. Carl Patrick and Alan Steele cut a similarly grotesque dash as Ray and Mr Boo, with Irene Myrtle-Forrester’s neighbour Sadie an amusingly silent witness. If life is a cabaret, only Laura Costello’s radiant LV and Isaac Stanmore’s Billy have a hope here, and when LV shines enough to finds her own voice, it’s electric.

The Herald, June 11th 2018

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…

Bdy_Prts

Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
Saturday December 2nd


It should probably come as no surprise that professional dancers are in the audience for the Edinburgh leg of this mini tour by spectral performance art/pop auteurs Bdy_Prts on the back of the release of their sublime debut album, The Invisible Hero. Beyond the music, the raison d’etre of Bdy_Prts’ dynamic duo of Jill O'Sullivan and Jenny Reeve, after all, is a flamboyantly costumed display of kinetic physical jerks and modernist shape-throwing to illustrate a set of fizzing machine-age chorales.

In this sense, the Bdy_Prts live experience is several works of art for the price of one that's a long way from the pair's formative work fronting Sparrow and the Workshop (O'Sullivan) and Strike the Colours (Reeve). Part living sculptures, part Bloomsbury Group super-heroines, part widescreen pop fabulists, O'Sullivan and Reeve paint their faces with ancient symbols and sport customised shoulder pads that look both seasonally …

Ceildh

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Three stars
One kiss is all it takes for everyone to understand each other in Catriona Lexy Campbell and Mairi Sine Campbell’s new play. Linguistically that is, as ancient and modern are brought to rollickingly intimate life by the Gaelic-based Theatre Gu Leor (Theatre Galore) company in the Tron’s Vic Bar en route to an extensive cross-Scotland tour. The set-up is the sort of ghastly tartan-draped corporate function whose perma-grinning hostess Lisa makes bogus claims of preserving culture while blatantly intent on flogging it off to the highest bidder. Think McWetherspoon by way of Trumpageddon.
With the audience ushered into a cabaret table arrangement by Lisa’s step-daughter Eilidh and serenaded by Eddie’s oh-so-couthy accordion playing, the dirt from Harris is unearthed along with a bottle of David Beckham-branded whisky. This causes the corporate shindig to be disrupted on an epic scale by seventeenth century poet Mairi Ruadh. Which is when both the kissing an…