Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
The stage musical “Annie”, based on the American comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” has often been described as ‘the happiest musical ever’ and very probably is. It is a delightful, saccharine sweet treat that softens the hardest of hearts. This production has a slight case of sugar rot that more performances will hopefully fix.
Reviewed on its second night, this version seemed to lack ‘oomph’ and ‘big’ness from a lot of the adult cast. Notable exceptions were Nikki Gaertner-Eaton as the lovely, graceful Grace, complete with a beautiful ‘Mary Poppins’ British accent (a shame that she brought along her very English family to the very American Warbucks mansion: servants you are American, not British!); and Max Rayner as a very convincing President Roosevelt. As Miss Hannigan, Robyn Brookes is incredibly strong in her vocals and gives that ‘big’ness talked about earlier, but was not quite ‘drunk’ enough for this reviewer’s liking.
There was certainly nothing to pick, however, with the terrific bunch of girl orphans. As Annie, Holly Abbott is definitely the star of the show. Sassy, bright, poignant and wonderfully sweet (but never precocious), Abbott shines ‘like the top of the Chrysler Building’. Watch out for this young lady, she will steal your heart away while giving a knockout performance.
Whilst not the best production of the show this reviewer has seen, it will still make you smile and leave the theatre feeling entertained.
The orphans – photo by Mason Digital