THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE (Walnut): A 60-Second Review

(Photo credit: Mark Garvin)
Ellie Mooney and Jered McLenigan in THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE at the Walnut Street Theater’s Independence Studio on 3. (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

Some of life’s biggest journeys begin with that one small voice in our heads, telling us to take an unexpected leap of faith. As a painfully shy young girl channeling bold songstresses of the past through her deceased father’s record collection, Ellie Mooney delightfully shows audiences how to find the power within, as the star of THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE.

While her drunk and over-the-top mother Mari (Denise Whelan) and boyfriend Ray (Anthony Lawton) force Little Voice (Mooney) to perform in front of people at a popular local venue, LV has a tough time speaking up.

“I’m up to my tits in shame,” says Mari, after LV’s first failed performance.

When she finally finds the courage to show the world her deeply soulful singing and seductively enchanting voice impersonations, she becomes overwrought with having to sell her favorite hobby for the trade-off of becoming overworked and verbally abused by those around her, who can never get enough. Throughout her times of struggle and even grief, LV finds some solace from talking to her friend Billy, being comforted by Mari’s best friend Sadie (Melissa Joy Hart), and of course, tuning in to the songs from her beloved records.

“Nobody listens to anybody but themselves,” LV says to her mother, while Mari once again pushes her to perform.

As LV learns to find the courage to stand up to those around her, she shows us all that maybe, sometimes, that is precisely what we all need to do: listen to our own inner, little voice, and maybe our hearts too. [Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street] March 25-April 13, 2014.

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