1st November 2014
Nottingham Theatre Royal
Type of Production
Author: Matt Fry
Nottingham Operatic Society presented Annie at the Nottingham Theatre Royal. This production was a classic interpretation of the well-known musical, following the story of orphan Annie and how she warms the heart of a billionaire business man, Oliver Warbucks.
This production certainly benefitted from a very capable production team. Key direction elements such as simple setting, continuous action, visual variety and spatial consistency were all good. The musical direction was both competent and accomplished; ensuring excellent sound both on and off stage. The choreography was well suited to a cast of different abilities; both utilising the stage well and providing plenty of lovely variety, the pinnacle of which was demonstrated during the orphan numbers. All production elements worked very nicely together and complemented one another.
The young performers were all superb and most definitely the highlight of this production. Annie, played by Rosie Bentham, provided a momentous performance as the lead role, showcasing wonderful characterisation and good all-round performance ability. The orphans were all excellent; providing outstanding animation and enthusiasm throughout. Of particular note was the tremendously endearing performance provided by Lilly-Mae Evans (Molly); very cute. The adult cast were all musically strong, however for the most part required stronger characterisation across the board. Simon Theobald provided a robust and confident performance as Warbucks. Kate Williams gave a relaxed performance as Miss Hannigan, singing well. Drew Dennis and Alice Hands both supplemented each other well in the parts of Rooster and Lily. I was particularly impressed with Emma Shute (Grace Farrell) and Shaun Hanrahan (Butler), who both provided good characterisation and played their parts just right. Finally, this show report would not be complete without mentioning Whiz (the dog) playing Sandy; who provided an almost show-stealing performance, wonderfully cast and well trained.
A strong aspect of this production was the attention to detail. The set was simple and functional, enabling slick scene changes. Costumes and props were well sourced and utilised. The use of stage make-up was complementary and not overpowering. Technically, this production benefited from the exceptional facilities. The lighting and sound were of professional standards and expertly controlled. The backstage work was of a good standard, although not seamless and a little rough around the edges. I was particularly impressed with how Nottingham Op incorporated projection during the overture, which was an excellent touch; demonstrating great artistic vision and adding to the finishing touches of this production,
Overall, this was a very accomplished production, well received by the responsive audience. From all at NODA Nottingham, thank you for your hospitality and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year.