PLAYHOUSE, GREENSIDE PLACE
THERE’S a lot of rotation in this touring production of Annie. With three Annies, three sets of orphans and a Miss Hannigan that changes depending on location, the cast are kept on their toes throughout the run.
Surprisingly, the show is all the better for it. With an excellent supporting ensemble, the constant changes seem to have imbued the show with an extra dimension of vigour.
A confident live orchestra, helmed by George Dyer also adds an air of glossy vim that it’s rare to see outside of a West End production.
Playing Miss Hannigan this week, Elaine C Smith puts in a gutsy, energetic performance that is light on nuance.
Alex Bourne’s Daddy Warbucks is somewhat reserved but still a warmer figure than other portrayals of the forthright character.
Their constraint allows the audience to fully appreciate the fine work done by Madeleine Haynes as Annie, her ‘Team Tiffany’ cohorts and the rest of the cast.
Haynes’ bullish performance really gets to the sunny heart of the story, relentlessly upbeat she brings out the brighter elements of Annie’s songbook.
Director Nikolai Foster has fully embraced the feel good side of the script, light on pathos, he brushes quickly past the darker side of Hooverville and the Hannigans’ plans for Annie, instead devoting his time to effortless scene shifts and family fun.
Even Sandy, played by an indifferent medium Labradoodle called Amber, had very little time devoted to his cause.
Nick Winston’s crisp, well engineered choreography contributed spectacularly to the momentum of the production, especially as scenes shifted one into another.
Djalenga Scott, as Lily St Regis, in particular, made the most of the opportunity to break out some striking high kicks.
One thing’s for sure, you’ll be humming Tomorrow all the way down Easy Street on your way home.
Run ends Saturday