Carla Delaney Corrals her "Voices"
Actress/voice over specialist Carla Delaney has successfully plied her craft in a number of performance outlets, including such animated TV fare as The Family Guy and The Cleveland Show, commercials (the voice of Carol Brady for Snickers) and reality TV (Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Dana Carvey’s First Impressions). Her one-person show, Voices, follows her intrepid journey in her efforts to reveal not only the source of her talent but her essence as a human being. Solo show guru Jessica Lynn Johnson helms the proceedings with a zesty pace and pinpoint timing, although not every moment needs to be so specifically choreographed (such as Delaney’s relentlessly thrusting of her chest during a Sofia Vergara impression).
Delaney’s opening scene tribulations at a non-union voice-over session while attempting to please two seedy unseen producers (voiced by Jared Nigro and Nick Armstrong), not only allows her to display her adroit command of celebrity voices (Liza Minnelli, Drew Barrymore, Betty White, Vergara), it also serves to launch this lady into a quest to find out why she is in such a state of dissatisfaction, fighting throat soreness, a cold, career insecurities and an awareness that something is just not right. Aided immensely by the tech fluidity of Colin Pope, Delaney’s search for health and happiness leads her to seek medical help and psychic enlightenment, even to study yoga, but her throat and respiratory system are not improving and neither is her life. That’s when the show takes a leap forward as the myriad of voices within her, stifled throughout her life, now come out to play and to rebel.
Delaney incorporates a vast range of vocal colorations to bring such unique personalities as her heart, her brain, her snotty respiratory system, and a couple dozen more internal inhabitants to the fore. She even voices many of the people and objects in her life (like her disgruntled French Horn). Growing up as the youngest daughter, always trying to please everyone but herself, Delaney impressively distills the dysfunctional nature of her family during a simple trip to dine out. While her clueless mother, intractable father and domineering older sister are unable to agree on a destination, Delaney’s hapless younger self enthusiastically validates everyone’s opinion but cannot voice one of her own. However, the virtuosic highlight of the show is when teenage Delaney—despite the warring disapproval of every voice inside her but her heart—gives up her virginity to an unworthy lad who simply wanted to play “hide the salami.”
Voices reveals Delaney’s way out of the entrapment that has played havoc with her insides (ever hear of Hashimoto’s Syndrome?), as well as her professional life. She reminds us that, “the body is a sophisticated messenger. It tries at every turn to speak its truth! And if you ignore that truth, if you stuff it down, it will give you the flu.” If Delaney does Voices II, it would be nice to learn even more about her personal life. But she would still have to do her seamless vocal journey through the Simpsons family. That was delicious.
Plays: Sunday, June 13 (8:30pm); Friday, June 17 (7:30pm); Sunday, June 19 (7:30pm); Sunday, June 19 (7:30pm); and Saturday, June 25 (4pm)
At Asylum Studio C Theater, 6448 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood.
Tickets and more information available here.