Date 5th November 2013
Society Bilston Operatic Company
Venue Grand Theatre Wolverhampton
Type of Production Musical
Director Andy Poulton
Musical Director Jonathan Hill/ Ian Room
Choreographer Laura Canadine


Author: Alf Rai

The iconic story of the orphan Annie has to be one of the best introductions to theatre a child or adult can have and it tugs at the heartstrings no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

A lot depends on the leading “lady” and the two little girls sharing the red wig in Bilston’s production proved to be just the ticket.

Both Annie’s set the bar high for the more experienced members and both had the necessary cheeky rapport and endearing qualities to capture the heart of bachelor billionaire Oliver Warbucks who eventually adopts her.

First to capture the audiences’ hearts was little Phoebe Bruerton whose beautiful voice and mature acting didn’t disappoint. Her New York accent never slipped once!

Second night it was down to Amber Hughes to maintain the high standard set by Phoebe and she too didn’t disappoint with her very different style of singing.

The young girls who portrayed the orphans were simply fabulous, especially the two smiley faced Molly’s, Freya Poulton and Helaina Yardley who never put a foot wrong on the both nights I had the pleasure of watching, particularly during the best number in the show “it’s a hard knock life” which was brimming with wonderful choreography performed to a T by the girls. It’s hard to believe that at seven and eight years of age they were capable of producing such confident enthusiastic performances. (Well done girls!)

The adult members were not to be out done; John Halford, a naturally gifted singer, gave an assured hearty performance as the wealthy respected Oliver Warbucks. Lucy-Ellen Parker (Miss Hannigan) was superb as the evil, drunken orphanage boss as were Beth Berwick-Lowe (Grace) and John Sheard (Rooster), two very talented local up and coming musical theatre stars in the making. John’s daughter Emily Halford (Lily) was also suitably impressive in her first Principle role as Rooster’s partner in crime.

Some great cameo performances, particularly from Gregg Yates (Drake) the hilarious goofy gurning butler and the evergreen Eric Page (Roosevelt). The dog (Sandy) was very relaxed with everyone on stage and his finale walk down in his bright red Christmas coat with Drake was a nice touch!

The show ticked all the right boxes with some splendid production from Andy Poulton (Producer/Director) and well drilled choreography by Laura Canadine (Choreographer) all blended together with some lovely iconic tunes under the musical directorship of Jonathan Hill.

I must also thank to the wonderful Front of House team for their hospitality and for looking after me and my guest so well.