Geraldine Hakewill breaks your heart in the Darlinghurst Theatre Company production of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, her silent scream near the end of the play ricocheting through you as she clutches the broken records that have until now been the centre of her life. Her pain cuts to the quick.
Geraldine Hakewill. Photograph © Robert Catto
Jim Cartwright wrote the play in 1992 for Jane Horrocks having realised that she could summon the voices of various iconic singers in uncanny fashion. Horrocks later starred as Little Voice, or LV as she is known, in the 1998 film Little Voicewith Brenda Blethyn as her blowsy, working-class mother Mari.
The play begins with a flash as the lights fuse yet again. Mari (Caroline O’Connor) has staggered home after another drunken night – but this time (she fervently hopes) she has landed a new boyfriend, a two-bit talent spotter and manager called Ray Say (Joseph Del Re). Now Mari is having a phone fitted so that he can call.
Meanwhile, her daughter LV hides in her room upstairs listening to her precious LPs of famous singers like Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Billie Holiday...