Date 20th April 2017
Society Melody Makers
Director Suzanna Blakeley
Musical Director Joy Sidley-Brooks
Choreographer Judith Jefferies / Val Bamber


Author: Lyn Emmerson

The production of this popular piece was indeed a resounding success and the large cast coped well with the space available. I was very impressed the way the overture was directed, with the years passing by on an overhead screen, this really set the scene. Set design and construction together with props were managed by an excellent back stage crew, and lighting and sound were spot on from the technical staff.

I have seen this show many times, both amateur and professional but this production was one of the best I have seen. The title role of Annie, was in the hands of 11year old Hannah Griffith who was perfectly cast. Hannah was so natural and comfortable in every scene, not ‘over the top’ like many other children I have seen playing this role. Her diction and all her vocal numbers were excellent, bringing both joy and pathos to the character. Whether on stage with the Orphans, or Roosevelt’s Cabinet Members, she oozed confidence and coped wonderfully with her dog Sandy, obediently played by Monty Peters. Well done!! The group of Orphans did all that was required in a professional manner and gave the inebriated Miss Hanningan, the Orphanage Matron, portrayed by experienced Christine Peters, a very difficult time. The gin sodden Miss Hannigan’s ‘Little Girls’ went down a storm with the audience. Billionaire Businessman, Oliver Warbucks, who wished to adopt Annie, was expertly played by Andrew Jones. He impressed upon us that money is not everything in life. I particularly enjoyed his rendition of ‘Something Was Missing’. Another polished performance from Val Bamber as Warbuck’s Secretary, Grace Farrell, together with a solid contribution from John Bamber as American President, Franklyn D Roosevelt. Where would we be without the baddies in a show?, and together with Miss Hannigan, her shady brother ‘Rooster Hannigan’, Geraint Roberts, and his girl - friend the sleazy Lily St Regis, Gwenda Griffith, really lived up to their names and ‘Easy Street’ was a highlight.

Nick Blakeley gave us a faultless performance as Oliver Warbuck’s butler, Drake, whilst Karen Roberts, Caroline Ward and Joy Sidley-Brooks harmonized well as Bonnie, Connie and Ronnie, the ‘Boylan Sisters’. The large number of minor roles were well portrayed with many cast members taking more than one role. The chorus were well rehearsed and disciplined, I particularly enjoyed the ‘Hooverites’ and the Warbuck’s Mansion scenes. This was an excellent production which I could gladly see again. Special mention to Stage Directors Suzanne Blakeley and Joy Sidley-Brooks on their first joint production and to Eunice Parry for her professional accompaniment. Well done all!!