The perennially popular musical Annie popped into the Landau Forte Academy this week, giving Tamworth audiences a chance to enjoy the familiar antics of the villainous Miss Hannigan as she tries to stop Little Orphan Annie getting the happy ending she deserves with her adoptive father, Daddy Warbucks.
First time co-directors Louise Baldwin and Fiona Bell (who also musically directs) had the unenvious task of fitting this big show into a little space and, with a few little technical hitches (a cloth not being pulled far enough over, giving the audience a few seconds view of the industrious backstage crew going about their business!) it works well, even if the Hooverville scene is necessarily cramped by the available space.
Leading the cast at the Friday matinee I saw was Eliza Rose Tall, who has a very clear, strong voice and plenty of confidence for the role of the feisty orphan. She is very well supported by her team of 9 orphans who are all very well characterized; Chloe Hourihan’s sweet Pepper really makes an impression.
Michelle Gregory’s displays a very easy charm and distinct clear voice as Grace Farrell, which contrasts well with the ballsy hoofer Lily St Regis, played energetically by Karen Terry.
Natasha Beckett is playing her first lead as the boozy Miss Hannigan, and, while she may not be the most ferocious Hannigan we’ve ever seen, she’s growing into the role nicely. James Gorton is the lovable Oliver Warbucks, a man with a voice nearly as big as his wallet!
The rest of the busy company work really hard donning a dizzying array of costumes to play the multitude of characters required to bring this story to life, and it is to their credit that they are very well characterized.
The whole show is supported by an excellent 10 piece band, but sadly I cannot give a credit to the lovely dog playing Sandy as they are not credited in the programme!! I hope they are enjoying all the treats they are getting; they certainly deserve it!
Annie is running at the Landau Forte Academy until 20th April.
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