Sunday, 18 January 2009

A little voice..?

Happy birthday to the multi-talented Jane Horrocks, 45 years old today.

Possibly best known for her wonderful role as the ditzy Bubble in Ab Fab, Jane has entertained us in a whole string of different genres - from the seriously odd Nicola in Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet, to doing voices for a number of animated classics such as Crapston Villas and Chicken Run, to her acclaimed stage appearance as a neurotic overprotective mother of a disturbed child in Stephen Poliakoff's Sweet Panic.

But in my opinion, her greatest screen moment came with her spectacular portrayal of the title character in Little Voice where she revealed previously unknown skills as a powerful singer, with an uncanny ability to impersonate some of music's biggest musical stars - Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Billie Holiday and Marilyn Monroe.

It is an astonishing performance. I was blown away by the fact that all the voices were indeed Jane's own. The film itself is a bit of a mixed bag - but what could easily have been a clichéd gritty Northern rags-to-riches story is saved by the brilliance of the performances. Jane's introverted character, dominated by her dead common randy bitch mother (Brenda Blethyn) and mother's sleazy nightclub promoter boyfriend (Michael Caine), blossoms when she gets to the stage; and wins the heart of the lovely Ewan McGregor in the process... A must-see film!

Little Voice on IMDB

Here's her classic Judy:

And here's a little example of Jane Horrocks' vocal dexterity that I put together:


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