Connecting Voices: La Voix Humaine Review

Leeds Playhouse – until 17 October 2020

Reviewed By Dawn Smallwood


It is a delight to see the Leeds Playhouse re-open their doors since they had to close them in March due to COVID-19 Lockdown. This season they are presenting a series of short works which includes Connecting Voices. This is co-produced with Opera North and is taking place over three weekends in safe settings. La Voix Humaine is one of the three works which is part of Connecting Voices.

Some solo excerpts from Francis Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine are presented by Annette Saunders’ piano accompaniment and solely sung by Gillene Butterfield, portraying Elle. The work explores the solo voice with expression and power and is excellently portrayed by Butterfield. The set up is creative with the use of telephones, from different eras, being used as props for vocal expression. This resonates very much how staying at home was not an option during lockdown and how such communication, telephone and digital, are crucial inclusively for keeping in touch with friends and loved ones and also a lifeline for situations.

This production, under the direction of Sameena Hussain, is approximately 45 minutes but packed with powerful and expressive vocal and musical content. It is definitely a welcome back production with maximum engagement.