BWW Interviews: LITTLE VOICE's Ray Quinn!

BWW Interviews: LITTLE VOICE's Ray Quinn!

Hello Ray, and welcome to BWW:UK. How's the tour going?

We're midway through, which is weird - I don't know how it's gone so fast. We're having a great time. I'm really enjoying it - great cast, great show.

It's an iconic show - people know the film, but the play is where it all started.

The reason I took the job is Jim Cartwright, who wrote the script, is directing the play as well for the first time, so it was a real opportunity to meet him. He's such a lovely bloke, and it's a great role. People come and see the show and they don't know what to expect - they're not sure what it is because it isn't a musical and it isn't a play, it's somewhere in between. They're expecting me to sing, and I don't sing, it's a straight acting role, so for me it's really something completely different to what people are used to seeing me as. It's a real complete career change, almost going back to where I started.

Yes, you've been doing a lot of musical theatre recently - going back to straight acting must be a bit odd.

It is! It was challenging at first to calm everything down, I was so used in panto to coming out and going, "Hiya, kids!" and then doing musicals where I'm prancing round in a pink shirt and singing my head off - that was Legally Blonde, not some Chippendales show! This is basically like almost TV acting, in a way, really subtle. It was hard calming everything down but I've managed to get there in the end, and Jim is really happy with the show, and we love the show as a cast - it's so beautifully written, and we're getting really good receptions everywhere. That's because of the script and we try our best to portray that as best we can.

Beverley Callard is playing Mari - she's a fantastic actress and a lovely person, and she really drives the show. Jess Robinson plays Little Voice - her impressions are second to none, and it really brings the show together. I play Billy - he's a really shy kid, he's happy go lucky, he's quiet, understated, and that's not me - so that's hard!

I was going to ask about that!

Yes, it's not me at all! I think inside, what he loves, and his passion, is life. He's ambitious with that, he wants to make it the best he possibly can. As soon as he spots Little Voice, he falls instantly in love, but he doesn't know about it because he's never felt like this before. He finds himself through her and helping her. It's a love story, but a really weird one. He's not your typical Prince Charming - it's very real.

Did you watch Ewan McGregor play the role in the film before you started rehearsals?

I did! And I phoned Jim and I said, "I've watched the film!" and he went, "No, no, no, don't watch the film, we're starting from scratch. I'm going to go in with an open mind." I was really excited about that. Although it's his baby, he's been very open about it. We've suggested certain things and he's been happy to take that on board and really let us find our own feet with our characters.

So you're on tour until June...

Yes - come down and see us! After that, watch this space - although I'll be in panto at Liverpool Empire, playing Peter Pan, alongside my wife Emma [Emma Stephens], who's playing Wendy. It'll be nice to be home and see my family and show off my little boy.

Ray Quinn plays Billy in The Fall and Rise of Little Voice on tour. Follow him on Twitter at @therealrayquinn.

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Carrie Dunn Carrie is the UK editor-in-chief for BroadwayWorld. After spending her formative years reading books and ending up with a Masters degree in English literature from King's College London, it was inevitable that Carrie should be a journalist. Her pure and simple delight in the art-form of musical theatre led to the Guardian asking her to be their West End Girl. Since then, she's picked up a PhD, and also written for many other UK publications, including the Times and the Independent. She has many eclectic loves, including sport, karaoke, reality television, MMORPGs, three-volume Victorian novels, the British seaside, embroidery and Veronica Mars.