She was the little pixie in the last series of X Factor tipped to have a successful music career, yet Diana Vickers’ journey has taken an unexpected twist. It has been announced that she is to turn her talents to acting.
The 18 year old is to star in the first major West End revival of Jim Cartwright's multi award-winning play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, in an exciting new production to play a strictly limited season at the Vaudeville Theatre in the autumn.
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is a savage black comedy-drama about 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 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 towards stardom she doesn't want and is literally terrified of.
The moment she read the part, it was magic. A frisson ran through the room. She is Little Voice.
Cartwright has admitted he is more than excited about the casting of Vickers, claiming she is “the real deal”. He said “This young girl is a natural actress. The moment she read the part, it was magic. A frisson ran through the room. She is Little Voice.”
Diana Vickers was born in Burnley, Lancashire, very much 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 her journey saw her survive nine weeks of live shows. Diana will be taking a short break from recording her debut album to take the role. She recently signed a record deal to RCA records and her debut album is due for release early 2010.
It meant wearing my knees out begging her!
The producer of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Nica Burns said that casting the role was vital before any firm decision was made to revive the play. “Jim Cartwright, who originally wrote The Rise and Fall of Little Voice for Jane Horrocks, told me he had found the perfect girl – and then dragged me off to Wembley to see Diana Vickers perform as part of the X Factor tour, I thought he'd gone mad! But when I saw Diana I knew immediately he was right; she has a special quality. When she finally agreed – after much persuasion – to come in and read for us, we found out that not only can she sing but she was an intuitive actress as well.”
Burns has also admitted she had to beg Diana to take the role, as acting was not part of her career plan. “We are delighted she agreed to do it, even if it meant wearing my knees out begging her!”
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice premiered in 1992 at the Royal National Theatre and then transferred to the Aldwych theatre. It was nominated for six Olivier Awards, and the play won both The Evening Standard and Olivier awards for Best Comedy of the Year.
In this new production, Terry Johnson will direct. His production of La Cage Aux Folles is currently a West End smash-hit.
– By Phil Matthews
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