Arbroath Musical Society’s stars of tomorrow have brought to life a classic of yesteryear for their latest production.
‘Annie’, reportedly the world’s most performed musical, opened on Tuesday at the Webster Memorial Theatre and runs until tomorrow (Saturday).
Adapted for Broadway from the popular Harold Gray comic strip ‘Little Orphan Annie’ it’s a firm favourite with schools and youth theatres, however, blending adult and young performers gives it more believability and ensures the storyline retains its undoubted charm.
Arbroath Musical Society should be given great credit for encouraging a younger membership into its ranks by staging ‘Annie’. You would have to have a heart of stone not to have it melted by this show.
The eternally optimistic orphan Annie is convinced one day her parents will return and she’ll be re-united with them, escaping the awful orphanage run by the drink-sodden Miss Hannigan.
Oliver Warbucks is a billionaire, who decides to take in an orphan for Christmas and you’ve guessed, leapin’ lizards, it’s Annie!
Annie meets President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the height of the great Depression and her optimism inspires him to get the nation back to work.
This show really belongs to the 18 local girls who play a feisty bunch of orphans, led by a delightfully unaffected performance from 12-year-old Georgia Gibson. Here is a great little trouper with a clear, clean voice, giving a spot-on rendition of ‘Tomorrow’. A special mention must also go to 11-year-old Lotti Gray, who plays Molly.
David Mathieson plays super-rich Oliver ‘Daddy’ Warbucks, believably portraying the hard-nosed businessman whose heart is melted by Annie. Eileen Masson is an endearing and caring Grace Farrell, who wins the heart of the billionaire.
Tracy Gibson, in her first principal role, is a splendidly lush Miss Hannigan. Jimmy Gray is Hannigan’s scheming younger brother Rooster and Sara Whitton truly sparkles as his ‘dumb blonde’ girlfriend Lily St Regis. Their number ‘Easy Street’ is a highlight.
The hard-working ensemble is great and there are fine cameo performances from John Hayes (Lt. Ward/President Roosevelt) and Scott Ramsay (Drake/Bert Healy) – and the dog Sandy (played by Mowgli) is a scene-stealer.
The sets, costumes, lighting and sound are all excellent and the band under the direction of Richard Allan is terrific.
Curtains are up at 7.30 p.m. tonight (Friday) and 2 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. tomorrow, tickets are available from the Webster Memorial Theatre box office on 01241 435800.