The cast of Jim Cartwright’s award-winning West End comedy The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, scheduled for a week long run at the Wyvern from 13 to 18 May, was given a proper Swindon welcome when they visited town in March to promote the play.
The cast of Little Voice, from left, Jess Robinson, Duggie Brown, Beverley Callard, Ray Quinn
Commenting on the hospitality shown to them by the people of Swindon as they continue on their second leg of the UK tour, leading lady Jess Robinson, the comedy actress and impressionist who plays Little Voice, said: “This is the best we’ve been treated so far.
"If this is what Swindon is like I think we’re going to have a fabulous time in May.”
It transpires that Jess and Little Voice go back a long way, as it was auditioning for the play ten years ago that convinced everyone that she really does have a talent to impersonate. Describing why she loves the play so much Jess said: “It encompasses everything I can do from straight acting to comedy, impressions to singing.”
Little Voice’s mother Mari is played by Beverley Callard, a role for which the former Corrie star has achieved much acclaim. Expressing her love of Cartwright’s script and direction she said: “This is the first time the play’s been performed as Jim intended it to be. All the characters are Jeremy Kyle cases really, but they all have a wisdom they don’t know they’ve got.”
Veteran comic Duggie Brown, the only surviving personality from ITV’s original stand-up show The Comedians, appears as Mr Boo, the terrible compere from the working men’s club where Little Voice gets her big break. He also plays an important role warming up the audience in true northern style, with a pre-show club act and raffle, which he thinks the Swindon audience will love, saying: “When we did it in Guildford they were totally bemused.”
X factor finalist Ray Quinn plays Little Voice’s saviour Billy, providing an important opportunity to showcase his talents as a straight actor. On the back of his X factor career and Dancing on Ice victory these days his busy schedule includes acting, writing music and changing nappies for his 7 month old son.
He said: “I started in Brookside when I was 8 so I’ve never known anything else but the entertainment industry, although I did help out in my dad’s carpet-fitting business once, but I think all I did was make the tea!”
Book tickets at wyverntheatre.org.uk