Date 26th February 2022
Society Stage One 2000 Musical Youth Theatre
Venue The Mosslands School Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Brenda Davies
Musical Director Sian James
Choreographer Allison Bentley Jones
Producer Brenda Davies


Author: Joanne Rymer


Stage One 2000 Musical Youth Theatre26/2/22

Set in 1930s New York during the great depression, Annie is, without doubt, one of the best loved musicals around. It's a perfect medley of brilliant songs and well-crafted characters that takes you through the full range of emotions. The production is based on the book written by Thomas Meehan about the children’s favourite redhead orphan Annie, with lyrics and music by Martin Charnin and Charles Strouse respectively. The songs are well known tracks such as "Hard Knock Life", "Never Fully Dressed without a Smile" and the instantly hummable "Tomorrow", and they are beautifully sung by the cast in this production. Congratulations to Musical Director Sian James and Choreographer Allison Bentley Jones for a fine job. The very talented orchestra directed by Sian Phillips was perfect, never overwhelming the performers.

The New York skyline created a versatile backdrop to create Annie’s journey through the tough streets of 1930s New York when she runs away from the orphanage ably helped by Mr Bundles (Harry Darker) and Molly (Sophie Roberts). Annie finds Sandy the Dog (Hetty Hodgson), but sadly she is returned to the orphanage by a NYC Policeman and has to leave Sandy. A well done here for the sound and lighting by Clinton Ball, Derek Bosely and Kerry Lee, for a problem free performance.

Despite the theme of the 1930s Depression era, there is much here to enjoy; the exceptionally talented children playing the orphans are entirely believable, wholly endearing and full of individuality. The actor’s saying about “never work with children or animals” doesn’t apply in Annie, after all it is a show based around an 11 year old girl with a dog. Fortunately, the young actors on stage this evening proved conclusively why we should be so incredibly proud of the future of amateur theatre.

Annie's calling card is of course, "Tomorrow" and, while often undeservedly written off as one of those throwaway musical standards, is actually a song with some rather testing notes which Lily (Annie) delivered well. Clearly someone to watch for in the future, congratulations Lily

For me, the standout moment of the show is “it’s a Hard Knock Life" which sees Lily join forces with her fellow orphans for a wonderfully enthusiastic delivery of a number that I promise will be stuck in your head from the moment you hear it. The joyful expressions on their faces were a total delight - the highlight of the show for me. Congratulations to you all. Praise must go to costumier extraordinaire Jenny King, assisted by Jules Bradley and Chris Jones, quite magnificent.

Brave young Annie (Lily Criddle) is forced to live a life of misery and torment at the orphanage of Miss Hannigan (Libbie Bentley Jones). Annie is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire; Oliver Warbucks (Euan Parks).

Soon Annie is ensconced in the Warbucks Mansion and, with her blunt but cute approach to life is loved by everyone working there, including the man himself, who wishes to adopt Annie. However Annie is determined to find her parents. Oliver Warbucks promises he will help, contacting the FBI and offering a reward if they are found.

Spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan with brother Rooster (Jack Darker) and girlfriend Lily (Annie Green) to spoil Annie’s search, and claim the $50k reward. Their intention is to say Annie is their child who they were forced to leave with Miss Hannigan years earlier. Their performance of the song ‘Easy Street’ is quite amazing, well done

Extremely good performances here – Libbie Bentley Jones in particular as the disillusioned orphanage owner gave a compelling performance, spiteful and villainous delivered with well-timed humour. Euan Parks gives an assured performance as billionaire businessman Oliver Warbucks, well done Euan. As Warbuck’s assistant Grace Farrell Niamh Haslam is charm itself great performance. Two fine performances too from Jack Barker and Annie Green.

Well done to Sam Darker, Lola Bradley, Molly Saville and all concerned in the Radio Studio scene.

Praise to the Director Brenda Davies for fine entertaining performance. The whole hard working ensemble, look as if they are having a thoroughly great time in this show and this production of Annie is, without doubt, a well-staged imaginative and fun which was a delight to see.

Well done to you all.

Joanne Rymer


District 4