July 2003 at Leighton Buzzard Theatre
Annie follows the story of Annie and a group of orphans, their fun antics and the trials and tribulations of living with Miss Hannigan, meeting Rooster and Lilly and finally being adopted by Daddy Warbucks.
Review by Josie Farmer:
During the last week of July over 80 local children aged 5-18 took to the stage of the Leighton Buzzard Theatre for a production of "Annie" I had the privilege of attending two of the performances and was very glad I did. The whole company worked hard to produce excellent performances. The title role of Annie was shared by 13 year old Tammy Oxley and 12 year old Eleanor Cloake. Both worked really hard and made me smile, they also demonstrated lovely voices and great acting ability. They had the added bonus of working with a black dog either Buster or Jesse, I saw Jesse on both performances- she was very well behaved and had the necessary ah factor.
Daddy Warbucks was played very well by 17 year old Matthew Williams. Matthew towered above the young Annies and showed excellent movement and acting skills. His rendition of "Together at Last" with Annie was superb.
Janine Nightingale was a star as Miss Hannigan, from her first entrance she demanded the audiences attention as she strode and swayed her way round the stage playing the middle aged orphanage proprietor who hates "Little Girls" Her voice was amazing, I really believed she was a forty year old woman and if I had been one of the little orphans I would have been terrified. Janine was supported by Rooster and Lilly who all worked very well, super expressions and movement skills. Easy Street was wonderful.
President Roosevelt was played cheerfully by Ben Jones and Iain Smith- excellent projection and manner from both these boys well done.
Grace Farrell was played by Hannah Doerr and Jenny White, excellent deportment and lovely expression from both girls.
An assortment of orphans, servants, and Hoovervilles filled the stage as various times. The orphans chorus of Hard Knock Life was great as was "Never Fully Dressed" led by Emer Downey and Amber Nightingale, both these girls were terrific. All the chorus numbers worked well, with full participation especially from the youngest orphans who looked great and showed such enthusiasm.
Kenny Smith played a variety of roles very well, he made a lovely Bert Healy and was assisted by a bevy of Boylyn sisters- all singing and looking beautiful with added assistance from Dominique Kelly and Kelly Vincent as Wacky the Puppet.
All of the musical numbers were good, NYC was visually stunning, I loved to see all the different characters, especially Father Christmas. The servant's song as they dressed the tree was lovely and the movement pretty. I particularly liked the final scene where Miss Hannigan was arrested.
All the children and young people should be very proud of themselves- a truly wonderful production, excellent costumes, authentic props, super scenery and good scene changes, brilliant music from David Allsopp and slick direction and production from Sally Allsopp. Well done to all concerned on and off stage.
The production was in aid of Cancer research Uk, well done to all involved -it is lovely to see young people and their production team working so hard to produce excellent results for a good cause. Well done to everyone involved.