IF you enjoyed the film, you will certainly enjoy the play.

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, written by Jim Cartwright, had its title shortened to Little Voice when, starring Michael Caine and Jane Horrocks, it hit the cinemas in the late 1990s.

Set in the seaside town of Scarborough, it tells the haunting story of Laura (known as Little Voice or LV), who lives with her boozing, whoring mother.

Laura's only comfort is her record collection bequeathed to her by her late father. While her mother entertains her men friends, Laura shuts herself away upstairs and listens to the voices of Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe, Gracie Fields and Maria Callas. She plays them over and over again.

When her mother takes up with small-time showbiz agent Ray Say, he discovers the girl's talent for impersonation and realises the potential in marketing her voice.

The highlight of the show comes when Laura stands on stage and is dazzled by the lights. Then, suddenly, as if from nowhere, her remarkable talent for recreating the voices of the great singers she so admires is given full reign.

The audience loves her. Her mother and Ray Say see great times ahead. However, Laura stops singing as suddenly as she began. There are to be no great times ahead.

The remarkable thing about this play is the way it offers uproarious humour, yet manages to weave heart-rending sadness into it too.

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, directed by Tom Daley, opened last night at the Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, near Newbury, where it will continue until Saturday, May 26. Tickets can be booked on (01635) 46044.