Funny, heart-warming and very entertaining – you will not be disappointed!
Having turned forty-one years old in 2017, Annie boasts some of the most recognisable and easily recitable classics in the vast canon of Broadway. Based upon Harold Gray’s comic strip by the slightly less snappy title of Little Orphan Annie, it was first adapted for stage by Thomas Meehan, with music and lyrics by two of Broadway’s household names, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin. At its inception then, it took the musical world by storm amassing seven Tony Awards including, though by no means limited to, ‘Best Musical’ and ‘Best Original Score’. In 1976 the musical captured peoples’ hearts and to this day it continues to inspire re-imaginings and revivals.
Set in 1930s New York City, Annie tells the story of a young orphan who, though starting out with nothing, wins the hearts of most of those she happens across, save for the cruel Miss Hannigan. She is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City orphanage that is run by the foul and bitter, Miss Hannigan. Aided by the other girls in the orphanage, Annie manages to escape out into the microcosm of New York City. Her escape is then the catalyst for a series of adventures, from befriending F. D. Roosevelt to foiling the scheming Miss Hannigan. Annie, fortuitously and by happenchance finds herself a new family and home in billionaire, Oliver Warbucks (Daddy Warbucks), his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a loveable dog named Sandy.
Lichfield Operatic Society have spared no expense in staging a truly magical production at Lichfield Garrick. The talented and adorable Katie Davey is simply sublime in her role as the delightful Annie (Tuesday performance), opening Act 1 with a heart-warming rendition of Maybe. She is supported by a wonderful assembly of orphan friends who enchant the audience throughout the show (Gabrielle Cole-Pearce, Ellie Farmer, Rosa Clark, Nicole Townsend, Martha Swift) particularly with the superbly choreographed It’s A Hard Knock Life.
Under the expert direction of Lynne Hill, choreographer Natalie Haslam and Musical Director Mark Timms, the cast portray the story seamlessly with Julie Mallaband playing the part of the ‘orrible Miss Hannigan with an unprecedented radiance and deliciously wicked sense of humour particularly during her delivery of Little Girls.
Beautiful vocal performances are witnessed throughout by a very strong support cast, with special mention to the incredibly pretty Vickie Beck who portrayed the part of Grace Farrell with elegance and humour. Pete Beck plays the most perfect Oliver Warbucks, with a commanding stage presence and typically, of this show, flawless vocal.
Excellent performances were featured also from Patrick Jervis and Charlotte Middleton as the cunning pair - Rooster Hannigan and Lily St Regis - and David Hill plays an excellent President Roosevelt.
Superbly costumed and staged, the first-class acting skills from the entirety of the cast ensure this is a show ticket worth every penny, with each scene its own brief snapshot to the unrelentingly impressive nature of the production as a whole.
Don’t miss it.
Runs to 22 April at Lichfield Garrick.
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