Annie

Date 13th November 2019
Society Buttington Musical Theatre Company
Venue Trewern Community Centre
Type of Production Musical
Director Les Skilton
Musical Director Sian Edwards
Choreographer Rebecca Shepherd-Royal, Sian Edwards & Amber Deacon.

Report

Author: Jackie Titley

Buttington have changed from their popular repertoire of Gilbert & Sullivan to pastures new for them. Annie obviously needs a number of young girls to play orphans alongside the other older, experienced members. This demanded an imaginative approach by the production team and the company being willing to approach the show with an open mind. This year there was a small band accompanying the company. This certainly enhanced the show. Even some of the sound effects came from the “pit”, and Greg Jenkins, accompanist, covered the scene changes beautifully.

As the chairman commented in his welcome message, bringing in children to perform was wonderful as was having such an enthusiastic bunch bringing fantastic energy to the rehearsal room and the stage. Indeed, there were two groups of orphans for the run of the show and I was assured that the “Empire State” Team were just as enthusiastic and in character as the “Chrysler” Team that performed on the night I attended. Although this was the first time on stage for the younger cast, I am sure it won’t be the last. Welcome to the world of entertainment.

Annie (Alys Shirley-Smith), of course, is the central character of the story and she gave a very creditable performance and has a nice singing voice. The dog was not so happy on stage but Annie coped extremely well, especially as she was singing throughout. Her friends, the orphans, all had their own character and were very supportive of one another. The dancers in “It’s a Hard Life” were choreographed very well by the team of choreographers. I particularly liked the use of levels provided, beds, tables, chairs and of course the floor.

Miss Hannigan (Rebecca Shepherd-Royal) was suitably evil towards the girls and kept in character throughout. Daddy Warbucks (Doug Skilton) took the bull by the horns and had his hair shaved for his part. An experienced performer and his songs  were sung well. He changed character as the show demanded, his usual confident performance. A poignant rendition when he sang to Annie.

Grace (Linda Skilton) is always a pleasure to listen to and related well to Mr Warbucks and Annie. She was always looking out for Annie.

Rooster (Mike Shepherd-Royal) and Lily ( Stevie Lucking) revelled in their parts, able to bring humour to the situation. Rooster, Lily and Miss Hannigan performed an effective dance together. They also played the scene of passing as Annie’s parents well.

The Boylan Sisters (Ffion Skilton, Mared Smith and Mali Ellis) sang well together. Due to the lack of men in the company, the Roosevelt’s Cabinet were women, who carried their characters well.

Roosevelt (Phil Evans) gave a very convincing performance from his wheelchair – not easy sitting in a chair and having no control over where you go. Phil was suffering with an almost lost voice but overcame it as he spoke the song.

Mrs Greer (Sue Williams) had an excellent, busy staff at Warbuck’s house, most of them doubling up on other parts where necessary.

The scenery was minimalistic but useful in adaptation. The only disappointment for me, there were not enough Christmas decorations when Annie was joined by her orphan friends at Daddy Warbucks.

Congratulations to everyone concerned and hopefully we will see the youngsters, and not so young, appearing in future productions.