Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 11:55 UK

Press views: Vickers' West End debut

Diana Vickers as Little Voice
Little Voice (Diana Vickers) is transformed into a cabaret star

Diana Vickers has gone from X Factor hopeful to the London stage in her debut West End role.

The 18-year-old singer, who finished fourth in last year's outing of the ITV talent show, plays the lead role in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, a play about a painfully shy girl with an incredible vocal talent.

Theatre critics have given their verdict on the young star, who was faced with taking on the role made famous by Jane Horrocks in both the original production and the big screen version.

MICHAEL BILLINGTON - THE GUARDIAN

Inevitably, Jim Cartwright's play has lost some of the shock of its 1992 premiere.

Then we were amazed when dormouse heroine Jane Horrocks suddenly sang like a woman possessed.

Now Diana Vickers, the 18-year-old X-Factor discovery, takes the same role with the vocal assurance we would expect. She's good, but we are no longer astonished.

But, for all the hectic business of Terry Johnson's production, this is a play that doesn't quite pack the punch it did on a first viewing.

HEATHER NEILL - THE STAGE

At the centre of this revival is 18-year-old X Factor star Diana Vickers.

While she acquits herself well as the sad waif before her discovery, there is no doubt that the audience is waiting for her central "turn".

Glittering to her toes, she belts out the medley, showing off considerable vocal skill and sassy aplomb.

HENRY HITCHINGS - LONDON EVENING STANDARD

While Vickers's acting may not have great range, it's winsome. And when she sings she soars.

The most thrilling sequence comes when she slips from Dusty Springfield into Marilyn Monroe, and then dashes through Judy Garland, Marianne Faithfull, Julie Andrews, Shirley Bassey and Edith Piaf.

She has presence and vocal charisma, and only when she switches to her own voice, performing a new song by Mark Owen, does she seem less than radiantly polished.

MICHAEL COVENEY - WHAT'S ON STAGE

The transformation seems less astonishing in the sweet and studied performance of 18-year-old X Factor finalist Diana Vickers.

Lesley Sharp as Mari
Lesley Sharp plays LV's feisty, overbearing mother Mari

She makes LV's emergence one that is more to do with confidence than brash vocalising talent. But hers is an extremely assured West End debut.

But the real star turn here is that of Lesley Sharp as Mari, whose opening 20-minute salvo of crass, crude self-absorption is the biggest blast on the West End stage.

It's an amazing performance that is then sustained with brilliance and bravura for the whole, slightly over-long duration.



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SEE ALSO
Mark Owen pens Little Voice track
17 Oct 09 |  Entertainment
Little Voice stage stars unveiled
20 Aug 09 |  Arts & Culture
X Factor star lands West End role
10 Jul 09 |  Entertainment
Diana voted out of X Factor final
06 Dec 08 |  Entertainment

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