The cast of Annie need not worry about the old saying “do not appear with children and animals ” as it comes with the territory from the start.
So if we mix together, a few orphans, cute dog (who has been playing the role of Sandy, since before some of the “orphans” were born) together with first class theatrical musical numbers, we have a perfect family musical, that will entertain everyone from young children to grandma.
In the musical we follow the exploits of Annie, who spends her days trying to escape the orphanage, until Daddy Warbucks (David McAlister) secretary, Grace Farrell (Simone Craddock) has her chosen as the orphan who can stay with Warbucks over Christmas. Along the way Miss Hannigan (Su Pollard), who is in charge of the orphanage, tries to plot with her brother Rooster (Philip Andrew) and his girlfriend Lily St. Regis (Kerry George) to claim a reward from Warbucks, as they try to pretend Annie’s long lost parents have returned. However, we are always confident that the truth will out, especially as Warbucks has the assistance of the President of the United States of America and the FBI.
Su Pollard, as always, gives a sterling performance as the wicked, alcoholic Miss Hannigan, belting out her solo numbers to great effect, while hitting the mark exactly on the comedy front. But special mention must be made of Audrey Leybourne, who plays Mrs. Pugh, one of Daddy Warbucks staff. While joining in the musical numbers, and noticeably shepherding the orphans during the Christmas scene, her smile lights up the stage and is fondly remembered as one of The Roly Polys.
The musical is littered with recognisable songs including, “It’s A Hard Knock Life”, “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile” and the iconic “Tomorrow”. So while the show itself appears a little dated, with Act One seeming much longer than its actual running time, Annie still ticks all the musical boxes for a great family night out. Too rare a commodity these days.