by The Centre Stage Company
Review by Victoria Calver
Annie is a musical with some fantastic, well known tunes that get the whole audience humming merrily along!
However it is also a show that, as a passionate Musical Theatre lover, strikes fear into my heart, it is a truly challenging show to pull off, especially with the large children’s chorus.
You can imagine my trepidation as I went to find my seat in the delightful Haverhill Arts Centre, I had no idea what I was about to encounter, but I am thrilled to say that I have never enjoyed a production of Annie more.
As the lights went down in the theatre there was an abundance of excitement from the sold-out audience and from the very first (rather beautifully played) trumpet solo the night was an absolute delight.
With copious amounts of talent, enthusiasm and panache the cast of Annie did not disappoint at any turn.
After a rousing overture from the excellent orchestra under the direction of Karen Chinery, the younger members of the cast took to the stage delivering some of the most famous numbers, such as ‘Hard Knock Life’ with surprising maturity and excellent stage presence.
Special mention must go to little Molly, played by Ava Herd, who stole the audiences hearts immediately with her fabulous characterisation and unexpectedly powerful vocals.
Annie, played by Amber Brewster was truly outstanding. This challenging role was played with guts and gumption, really bringing out the feisty side of Annie’s character. ‘Maybe’ and ‘The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow’ were delivered beautifully.
The cleverly minimalist set combined with some atmospheric lighting allowed for seamless scene changing, and the wonderful costumes really gave the performance an extra edge.
Mr Warbucks, played by Steve Murray, was completely convincing throughout, his rendition of ‘Something Was Missing’ was truly touching and his relationship with Grace, played by Lorraine Mason, was beautifully portrayed.
Miss Hannigan was played with complete assurance by Kelly Mepham, as an audience member it was difficult not to truly dislike her whilst thoroughly enjoying all her performances. Rooster (Paul Gardiner) and Lily (Jane Baillie) were fabulous character parts performed excellently throughout.
Both the adult and children’s chorus were filled with energy and charisma, and the small but wonderfully boisterous male chorus never failed to bring out a smile.
Special mention must go to Cian Harris, playing Drake and Bert, whose excellent character acting bought a wonderful comedic edge to some of the more poignant moments.
‘NYC’ featured some fabulous music from the Orchestra, a great cameo from Daisy Webb and some fabulous choreography. Along with the somewhat surreal ‘Tomorrow Reprise’ in the White House and the ‘Never Fully Dressed’ tap routine the evening had it all!
I would thoroughly recommend getting your tickets for this fantastic company’s next production, ‘Addam’s Family’ in October. I am sure it won’t disappoint.