National Operatic & Dramatic Association
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13th March 2012


Ashton Under Lyne Operatic Society


George Lawton Hall

Type of Production



Anthony Williams

Musical Director

Paul Firth


Author: Kevin Proctor

Annie, of course, the perfect musical for hard times, the musical designed to prove that depressions (or recessions) needn't be depressing!

When you think of this show, it’s easy to be blinded by the little red headed girl with her scruffy mutt and it’s easy to forget the strong political theme throughout ‘Annie’ which Ashton exhibited  wonderfully and reminded me why this show is so iconic in the history of Broadway Musical Theatre.

For me, what really makes this musical so enduring is the strength of Charles Strouses’ score and this production did not fail to impress musically, Paul Firth’s orchestra soared and filled the George Lawton Hall with Broadway charm.

In many productions of ‘Annie’, often the stage is fit to bursting with squeaky orphans but the production team made the right choice by having a smaller number of girls who were all overflowing with charisma without a cringe in sight! Particular mention must go to Aimee Morris as Molly who certainly gave the title role a run for her money on the cute factor!

Oliver Warbucks (Peter Wakefield) certainly had the ‘Warbucks’ stature and voice though I felt some of the comedy moments didn’t carry and the ‘man with a mission’ was not as prominent as I’d have liked but all was forgiven with his rendition of ‘Something Was Missing’ which was performed with great feeling and sincerity.

(Joanne Gills) Miss Hannigan reeked of Carol Burnett (my favourite Hannigan), she didn’t ‘over do it’ for the laughs and gave all the right elements for the role and didn’t fail to deliver in her numbers either.

Notable performances were Lily (Joy Plowes), a fantastic slapstick bimbo, a warm and Mary Poppins esk Miss. Farrell (Vicki Stott) and a Rooster who was not too sinister with an enjoyable interpretation of Rooster as Mudge (Phil Harrison).

Technically, we had a few issues as lights went out on performers before they’d finished their number, some scene changes and crossovers were a tad unkempt but I can put these down to opening night hiccups and have every confidence that these will be ironed out through the run.

Now, the star of this show is the exceptional Little Orphan Annie (Lorna Richardson), you’d have to have a heart of stone not to have it melted by this little star. A stunning actress with a belting voice who effortlessly carried the entire show with personality and poise, a commendable achievement!

Yes, the show had its ups and downs, ‘N.Y.C’ was somewhat disappointing for a cast with such capability but still, this didn’t hinder the production, a job well done and a show to be proud of.

Beg, borrow or steal a ticket for this show!!