NODA reviews GTP’s October production of Annie

This production of Annie was without exception a showcase for talent and enthusiasm of both the cast AND the production team. The show moved at an excellent pace throughout – with no blackouts and scene changes carried out entirely by the cast. Never have I seen such superb transitions from one scene to the next. The whole production “shone” (like the top of the Chrysler Building!).

This production had 2 teams of Orphans – Team Chrysler and Team Rockefeller. I was fortunate enough to see Team Rockefeller who were performing on Saturday matinee – sadly I didn’t get to see Team Chrysler.

Jemima McDonald was simply outstanding as orphan Annie. Her brilliantly clear diction and excellent singing voice were a delight to listen to and she had amazing stage presence for such a young age. I think this young lady has a bright future ahead of her in the theatrical world.

Colin Waterman played the role of Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks with ease and gentleness and was likeably commanding when required. His scenes with Annie and Grace (his secretary) were so touching. I loved his musical number “Why Should I Change a Thing” in Act 1 – I have never heard this number before but it was so moving.

Nicky Burrows played the part of Grace Farrell with such elegance and refinement and she was lovely to watch and listen to. She had a lovely rapport with Annie and she was just perfect for this role.

Sally Holmes

The orphans were all brilliant – each and every one of them! And boy, could they sing and dance! They all had their own individuality, but together they played a perfect team of orphans. Their opening routine “It’s the Hard Knock Life” had so much energy and enthusiasm in it, which continued throughout the whole show. They had me in tears right from the start – they were fabulous.

Jill Whitehouse gave a great character performance of the permanently inebriated Miss Hannigan. Jill’s extensive musical theatre experience really shone through in this fabulous comedic role.

She had brilliant support from Alison Smith as Lily St Regis and Darren Smith as Daniel “Rooster” Hannigan. Their rendition of “Easy Street” was just superb. The way these 3 characters “told” the story of how they could get their hands on the reward for being Annie’s parents was excellent. I have seen this musical so many times before and I’ve never ever had that “lightbulb” moment when the “penny drops” through “Roosters” idea! Well done!!!

Of course, a special mention must go to Pepper, who played “Sandy” – Pepper was so well behaved, and obviously got the loudest cheer in the bows!

The music was in the hands of Ian Sapiro, and his fine orchestra blended superbly throughout the production, from the first brass solo of the Overture to the final note of the Walk Out music they were a delight! An asset to this production – congratulations! The dance routines were excellently choreographed by Ted Oxley-Kirk. David and Ted must be congratulated for drilling those orphans (and the adults) so well!

The set was brilliant – congratulations to Andy Grace and his team for such an imaginative set which worked so well in every single scene. Very cleverly devised.

There was full support from all the cast – all characters, ensemble and dancers. Everyone’s diction was excellent, and it was a joy to hear every word spoken and every note sung. Many members of the cast played multiple parts – and it was good to see that every characterisation was different each time they were playing someone different.

The costumes, props, furniture and lighting all enhanced this excellent production.

Huge congratulations to everyone involved.

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