30th June - 2nd July 2022
This year's brilliant production from our Youth Group, AKT, is a 60-minute kids-only version of the ever popular musical, Annie.
With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone's hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. Annie is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. Annie eventually foils Miss Hannigan's evil machinations, finding a new home and family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.
|Assistant Director||Lindsay Farnworth|
|Choreographers||Hannah Feakin/Beth Bentham|
|Annie (Thu/Sat matinee)||Emily Hamilton|
|Annie (Fri/Sat evening)||Grace Lindley|
|Mr Warbucks||Theo Lindley|
|Grace Farrell||Anna Bardsley|
|Miss Hannigan (Thu/Sat matinee)||Lucy Pendlebury|
|Miss Hannigan (Fri/Sat evening)||Phoebe Corley|
|Bertina Healy||Carla Bardsley|
|Star To Be||Scarlett Sandiford|
|President Roosevelt||Edward Webster|
|Louis Howe||Darcey Elston|
|Mrs Greer||Hannah Corley|
|Mrs Pugh||Emily Tate|
|Cecille (Thu/Sat matinee)||Grace Lindley|
|Cecille (Fri/Sat evening)||Emily Hamilton|
|Annette (Thu/Sat matinee)||Phoebe Corley|
|Annette (Fri/Sat evening)||Lucy Pendlebury|
|Dog Warden||Milo Kraan|
|Bundles McCloskey||Matthew Shallicker|
|Sound Effects Man||Edward Webster|
|Officer Ward||Carla Bardsley|
|Sandy (Thu/Sat matinee)||Grace Lindley|
|Sandy (Fri/Sat evening)||Emily Hamilton|
Photographs by John Tustin
Reviews and articles
The familiar tale of Little Orphan Annie was made into a film 40 years ago, starring Aileen Quinn and Albert Finney. The was following the success of the 1977 musical which has also been made into a junior version. Walmsley AKT presents their version of Annie Jnr with a great deal of obvious hard work, excitement, and a great deal of enthusiasm.
From the moment the curtains open, the cast of 20 talented young people delivered what I can only refer to as quality youth theatre. Great vocals, well timed comedy and clear delivery led to a cracking performance by all concerned which culminated in well-deserved applause throughout.
As Annie, Grace Lindley charmed us all with her rich voice and great stage presence. She was every bit the Annie we all know and love. Well done, Grace. Sandy the dog was a delight and well presented by Emily Hamilton.
The musical number “Maybe” was delightful. The harmonies created by the young cast were spot on. This was consistent throughout and really made you sit up and listen.
As the orphans make more noise than is allowed, the manager of the orphanage starts to shout out her list of chores for the girls. Phoebe Corley was just right as Miss Hannigan. Suitably horrible to the orphans, she displayed some great facial expressions and remained in character throughout.
When Grace Farrell arrives from the home of Mr Warbucks, Annie wastes no time in ensuring she is picked to spend two weeks as guest of Mr Warbucks living in his big house. Anna Bardsley did well in this role and was as posh as the role requires. As she arrives at the house, Annie is in awe of what she sees, as is Mr Warbucks about Annie, and he soon decides he would like to adopt her. As Mr Warbucks, Theo Lindley is brilliant. A confident performance by this talented young man.
Mr Warbucks takes control and goes all out to ensure Annie stays with him and sets a reward as he sends out a plea for Annie’s parents to make contact. This is where Miss Hannigan’s brother, Rooster and his accomplice Lily come in. Matthew Shalliker and Hannah Corley work well together as they aim to deceive Mr Warbucks. They soon realise they are outwitted!
Cameo roles of President Roosevelt (Edward Webster), Bertina Healey (Carla Bardsley) and Apple seller (Emily Tate) came across well. Some great characterisations.
Worthy of special mention is Scarlett Sandiford who led the singing in the musical number NYC. What a voice! And delivered so confidently. One to watch for the future.
The Production team, consisting of Lara Syddall, Lindsay Farnworth, Hannah Feakin and Beth Bentham have ensured the cast have been put their paces which has resulted in Annie Jnr being brough to life by this fantastic group of young people. Signing the final number was so poignant and such a nice touch.
Congratulations AKT – a real great nights entertainment of quality live theatre.
AKT created a very creditable and enjoyable version of this old favourite ‘Annie’.
The orphans who opened the show sang beautifully, lovely harmonies and well-balanced which gave a lovely platform on which to build the show. Niamh Turner who played ‘Molly’ stood out straight away as a natural performer who loved the stage and instantly gave me the confidence we were in for a great entertaining show.
Grace Lindley created a very natural and loveable ‘Annie’, an accomplished performance and seemingly effortless singing voice. Grace created fantastically the confident and cheeky nature that we remember as Annie. As the show progressed Grace became stronger in all ways and held the stage.
The scenery was effective and albeit minimalist worked very well and allowed focus to be on the young talent on stage. The sound quality was as always fantastic from Lea Royce and Ellie Perrier and every word and note could be heard crystal clear. Lighting was effective and again worked well for a youth show. Impressed that we saw no major scenery changes without realising, which created consistency and a good flow.
Phoebe Corley, appeared as Miss Hannigan and albeit appeared somewhat nervous to start with, as the show progressed, she started to really portray the unlikable character we remember as Miss Hannigan excellently. Phoebe sang beautiful and held an adult character well. The same can be said for Anna Bardsley who played Miss Farrell, she had the maturity and presence to let the audience forget she was a youth member playing a very sophisticated adult female, dressed in a beautiful outfit and carrying herself with a confident presence.
Rooster played by Matthew Shalliker not only nailed the quirky character on-point but managed to have me instantly gripped in dislike for the sleezy and manipulative character. The ‘easy street’ song scenes were both entertaining and created the dark undertones of orphan life.
Enters Mr Warbucks…. WOW! What a character and comedian all in one. Theo held the audience in the palm of his hand and made the character very successfully his own. He had the most amazing confidence, charisma and most of all he made the audience immediately laugh with his facial expressions and his natural way of owning the stage. A small person with a huge presence! Well done Theo.
The costumes struck me as beautiful, especially the scene where Annie meets Mr Warbucks in his home where we were presented with an array of colour and stand out outfits.
I cannot end this review without mentioning the very beautiful inclusion of sign language as a touching addition, this had some tears flowing in the audience and raised inclusivity wonderfully.
Many congratulations to the Director Lara Sydall, Deputy Director Lindsay Farnworth and the choreography team, who had obviously all worked hard as a team to bring to the stage such a polished and lovely production, with everyone enjoying themselves and knowing every line – no mean feat.
Thank you to every single person all who contributed to this production onstage, backstage and front of house on such a great production.
Thank you also for making me so welcome and for your generous hospitality.