"Hoey is a revelation as she transforms herself into Bassey, Monroe and, most spectacularly of all, Judy Garland… it’s Hoey who raises the roof and the production above the ordinary"


"Denise Hoey's Isabella is as verbally feisty as Zorro is saber savvy"


"The production is a triumph"


"Denise Hoey’s Dorothy is such the very picture of early-20th-century American innocence. With some beautiful singing and nice puppet work (for her beloved dog, Toto), she dances adeptly around the ghost of Judy Garland."


"So pure is her performance that the idea of camping it up can never have crossed her mind. She has already proved herself a gifted mimic and singer in the lead role of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice earlier this year; here she doesn't so much imitate Garland as subsume herself into the role. She invests every crisis with absolute conviction, whether it's Miss Gulch absconding with little Toto (amusingly realised in a cute hand puppet) or the wizard reneging on his deal to get her back to Kansas. It means we too are propelled into the heart of this classic story of self-realisation..."


"Clever, energetic, humorous and engrossing storytelling"


"Denise Hoey’s delightful maid abetted by Russell Layton’s lanky Hilario run comic rings round the two courtiers"


"Denise Hoey does a remarkable job of making the role her own; winsome, of course, as Dorothy needs to be, but with a spritely, fine-voiced innocence that live theatre demands." 


"There are some splendid performances, with Denise Hoey's Dorothy incorporating buckets of winsome simplicity."


"Denise Hoey’s vocals are nothing short of incredible…I’m not going to go on for pages and pages about just how good Denise Hoey’s singing performance is (although I could). But I would like to take the time to highlight her acting performance as the quiet, unspeaking LV. This was every bit as impressive as her strong vocals and in very subtle ways conveyed the introverted and frustrated LV to the audience.  I was completely won over by a remarkable individual performance and strong supporting cast and I’m fairly confident that in many years time I’ll still remember"

View from the Stalls

"A terrific double act, with Hoey in particular outstanding as the disturbed woman. Underneath the acerbic rudeness, you can sense that her entire life is falling apart and Hoey conveys this sense of collapse beautifully, often with just a facial expression or throwaway gesture"


"With her perfect timing and boundless energy, Hoey’s performance was spot on"


"The antics of Russell Layton and Denise Hoey are sparkling comic gems in this worthy revival"


"Hoey delivers in disarmingly effortless style" 


"Although the role was written specifically for the talented Jane Horrocks, Hoey makes it her own and does a stellar job at impersonation, her Judy Garland a specific, tingling highlight..." 


"A peach of a performance from Hoey"


"Right from the start Denise Hoey's Dorothy - vulnerable but plucky in essential pigtails and gingham - has us seeing the world through her eyes."


"Best of all, it has a fantastic actress...Part of Hoey's skill is in her ability to make you forget that Toto is not living, yapping, flesh and bones in her arms. The final part to Hoey's success lies in her singing voice. It is absolutely spot on...she has a voice you both want to listen to and which tells the story." 


"Denise Hoey turns in a remarkable performance as Dorothy, eerily reminiscent of Judy Garland's, and her handling of the faithful Toto is a delight." 


"Denise Hoey is brilliant as Dorothy. She commands the songs as her own, creates a nicely-layered character and manipulates her life-size hand-puppet Toto so authoritatively that he becomes a character of his own." 


"Denise Hoey is excellent as young Arietty. She draws the audience in to her miniature world"


"Denise Hoey and Clare Waugh shine as Nina and Lorna respectively, and root the entire drama in humanity and emotion...Both women are both ferocious and vulnerable, particularly Nina, whom the play focuses on" 


"Hoey is hilarious with her child-like ebullience, enthusiasm and pantomime manner...It is to the credit of these actors that they have had to master a great deal of science and operate careful onstage health and safety measures for this show in which all the experiments are real."


"Excitable girl-guiding Silly Jilly (a star turn from Denise Hoey)"


"For me, the stars were most definitely Denise Hoey as Silly Jilly and Alan McMahon as Dame Trott, whose comic timing was spot on."


"Confident performances from a hard-working company dominated by Denise Hoey as Arietty"



"HEY, BIG SPENDER ... SPEND A little time with me!" Denise Hoey is giving it welly. If I shut my eyes, I could forget I'm in a rehearsal room in Paisley listening to a young actress in a pair of jeans. I could almost believe I'm in the Albert Hall with Shirley Bassey dripping gold.

In rehearsals for The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Visible Fictions theatre company is showcasing its latest star. Jim Cartwright's gritty fairy tale, a hit in the West End and on Broadway, was written for Jane Horrocks, precisely because she could impersonate the great divas. She reprised the role in Mark Herman's 1998 film Little Voice. Companies staging it since have faced the challenge of finding an actress to fill her shoes.

It took Visible Fictions, staging the play in collaboration with the Scottish Touring Theatre Consortium, four months to find London-based Hoey. "I knew it would be hard, because the requirements of the script are quite extensive," says Dougie Irvine, Visible Fictions' artistic producer and the show's director. "You need someone who is a brilliant actor, who can really sing and is able to mimic all these artists. We looked all over Scotland and in London. We saw many brilliant actors and singers but couldn't find the right combination."

Hoey must also carry a play in which she barely says a word. She must sing like a diva, but in the character of a withdrawn girl from a Northern town who happens to have a prodigious talent. LV's journey is to discover her own voice, with the help of hapless telephone repair man Billy and the hindrance of the conniving music promoter Ray Say.

However, she's more than ready for the challenge. In a short period in one rehearsal, I watch her slip easily from an edgy Shirley Bassey (Goldfinger), to a breathy, seductive Marilyn Monroe (I Want to be Loved By You), from a throaty Edith Piaf (Je ne regrette rien) to a sparkly Judy Garland (Get Happy) - all using a new instrumental recording she's listening to for the first time.

"Musically, Denise is crazily instinctive," says Irvine. "That was the first time she had sung with that recording and I was amazed. She was not only able to sing the songs straight off, she could play around with them. In rehearsals, nothing is too much for her, she's fearless."


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© Denise Hoey 2020