In a press statement, producer Nica Burns has commented, "With this wonderful play, you have to find your Little Voice first. To find someone of the right age — just 18 — who is as special as Diana Vickers is a gift. Having found our perfect Little Voice, I was delighted that the outstanding actress Lesley Sharp agreed to play her mother Mari and the charismatic actor Marc Warren, Ray Say. When Marc and Lesley first walked on stage together, the chemistry between them was instant."
The play, first seen at the National Theatre in 1992 before transferring to the West End's Aldwych Theatre (and subsequently briefly seen on Broadway in a production that transferred from Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in 1994), revolves around the painfully shy, diminutive Little Voice (LV), who lives alone in the north of England with her mother, Mari. Mari's drunken, overbearing personality has driven LV into seclusion in her bedroom, where she listens to her late father's records and has perfected faultless impersonations of the greatest divas, including Judy Garland, Edith Piaf and Dame Shirley Bassey. When Mari's latest boyfriend, small-time working men's club impresario Ray Say, overhears LV singing, he puts in place a tragic sequence of events as he pushes her toward stardom she doesn't want and is literally terrified of.
Sharp, who plays Mari, was last seen on the London stage in the title role of Simon Stephens' Harper Regan at the National's Cottesloe Theatre in 2008, and before that appeared in the British premiere of Sam Shepard's The God of Hell at the Donmar Warehouse in 2005. She has appeared extensively at the National and Royal Court, but this production marks her commercial West End debut. Her film credits include "Vera Drake" and "Naked" (both directed by Mike Liegh), "Inkheart," "The Full Monty" and "Rita, Sue and Bob Too," and on TV she has been seen in "Cranford," "After Life," "Bob and Rose," "Clocking Off" and three series of "Playing the Field."
Warren, who plays Ray Say, is best known for his TV role as Danny Blue in four series of the BBC1 series "Hustle." Other TV roles include "Mutual Friends," DCI Walker in "Messiah," "Dr. Who," Tony Crane in "Life on Mars," Mr. Simpson in "Ballet Shoes" and Jonathan Teatime in "Terry Pratchett’s Hog Father." He won the Royal Television Society Best Actor Award in 2000. He has made a number of films, most recently "Wanted" with Angelina Jolie and earlier this year appeared on stage as Katurian in Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman.
Vickers, who plays LV, was born in Burnley, Lancashire, the sort of town where the play is set, and has been singing since the age of 11. Her talent came to light when she entered the "X Factor" in 2008 and survived nine weeks of live shows. Diana is taking a short break from recording her debut album to take the role in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. She recently signed a record deal to RCA records and her debut album is due for release early 2010. The cast also includes Rachel Lumbert as Sadie and James Cartwright as Billy. The production is directed by Terry Johnson and designed by Lez Brotherston, with lighting by Mark Henderson, sound by Ian Dickinson and musical supervision by Nigel Lilley. It is produced by Nica Burns, Max Weitzenhoffer, TFP, Josephine Genetay.
To book tickets contact the box office at 0844 412 4663 or visit www.littlevoicewestend.com.