|Date||16th December 2021|
|Society||Good Companions Musical Theatre|
|Venue||Repton Hall Theatre|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Dave Adey|
|Written By||Charles Strouse (Music)Martin Chamin (Lyrics) Thomas Meehan (Book)|
Author: Joyce Handbury
Set in the 1930’s Annie is determined to find her parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City Orphanage that is run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other orphans Annie escapes from the orphanage, but is soon returned. By a stroke of luck Annie is chosen to spend Christmas at the home of billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Eventually the cold hearted Oliver learns to love Annie and tries to reunite her with her parents. The scheming Miss Hannigan and her evil brother along with his girlfriend plan to impersonate Annie’s parents to collect the huge reward.
On the evening performance that I attended it was the ‘Manhattan Team’ performing with Annie being played by Daisy Hamilton. Daisy was delightfully endearing, oozed confidence, and her acting and singing skills along with her optimistic, strong willed, yet friendly and sensitive character traits were top notch. It was a lovely, captivating performance. The other ‘Manhattan’ orphans were, Libby Bestwick (Duffy), Olivia Thompson (Pepper), Emilia Simcox (July), Hannah Oldham (Patricia), Willow Anderson (Tessie), Emma Finnigan (Kate) and the adorable and so cute Jessica Simcox (Molly). They were all absolutely superb, each portraying their own individuality, but working so well together. Their musical numbers were all well sung and the accompanying, well rehearsed and super dance routines were all well delivered with such enthusiasm and energy. Yvonne Taylor was perfect in the role of Miss Hannigan. She totally captured the utterly outrageous, tyrannical and sometimes ingratiating nature of the character
and her strong vocals together with her exceptional acting skills all added to make this an outstanding performance. Phil Stanley as Oliver Warbucks gave an effortless portrayal with the ideal mix of power as a decisive and wealthy businessman and later becoming a sensitive, caring father figure. His rapport with Annie was so touching none more so than when singing, with Annie, ‘I Don’t Need Anything But You’. Louise Simcox was elegantly refined, calm and businesslike as Warbucks Private Secretary, Grace Farrell, but she portrayed great warmth and kindness to the ‘staff’, to Oliver and the love she had for Annie was so heartfelt. Louise has a lovely singing voice too. A terrific performance was portrayed by Martin Counter as the disreputable and flashy Rooster Hannigan. His acting and singing prowess brought a lively, energetic burst of fun to the stage and together with Miss Hannigan and his girlfriend Lily St. Regis, so dizzily and sexily played by Ellie Mallinson, the singing and dancing in ‘Easy Street’ was definitely a show highlight. Martin and Ellie were both splendid in their characterization of Annie’s long lost parents, Mr. and Mrs. Mudge. Excellent and outstanding support came from all of the named characters, many playing multiple roles, but I must just mention Rio who was so well behaved and adorable as Sandy, the dog befriended by Annie. The singing of all the principals was superb as was that in the ensemble numbers where the accompanying dancing was well choreographed and executed. The sets were simple, the props fine, but I was somewhat disappointed with the furniture used in what was after all, a billionaire’s residence! Lighting was good, the orchestra was fine and costumes were in keeping with the times. There was just a few issues with sound and with one of the scene changes which I’m sure would all be sorted. It was nice to see really scruffy orphans but they did scrub up well for the finale. Congratulations to the whole cast, to Phil, Lisa and Dave (the production team) also to Morris Fisher the Orchestra Conductor and to everyone else involved for producing a super show in what are such troubling times and I totally concur with your President’s comment in the programme - “As for the future, let’s hope The Sun Will Come Out For Us All Tomorrow”.