Association of Community Theatre

Show Reviews November 2017


Urmston Musical Theatre

Director: Emma Harris

Musical Director: Adam Garnett

Dance Director: Rebecca Wood


The historical content of this musical may have no connection with an English audience. However Harold Gray's comic strip characters are as endearing as they were when they were first seen in 1924. The lovable Annie was turned into a musical in 1977 and in the intervening years the music and lyrics have become musical theatre standards.


A simple set enabled the action to flow and the lighting and sound enhanced the dramatic content. The costumes added to the characterisations although it was a shame that not all the characters were fully representative of the originals, and the wigs needed just a little more accurate styling.


The director brought out the best in the cast, with choreography representing well the dramatic scenes, and all of it was all wrapped up in the punchy musical miscellany provided by an excellent band.


The ensemble work with the supporting cast made sure the story was given brought to life. The Orphans attacked and delivered with gusto their song, “Hard Knock Life”. In charge of them, gin-swilling, unjust Agatha Hanningan was refreshingly interpreted by Kathleen Valentine.


Ben Thomas was Hanningan’s brother, “Rooster”, the conman, who wants to con industrialist Warbucks. Rooster “crowed” and longed for easy street. Ben played the likeable villain with convicxtion. His partner in crime, the lovely Lily St. Regis, played by Sue Mallett, didn’t just let Lily stand in Rooster's shadow. She was a convincing gangster’s moll.


Annie is taken in for Christmas by Oliver Warbucks, selected (with a little help from Annie), by Grace Farrell, Warbucks' P.A. As his ever faithful girl Friday, Lyndsey Florin convincingly took charge of the new life together for billionaire and Annie.


The challenging role of Daddy Warbucks was in the capable hands of Matthew Darsley. Matthew captured both the cold and inner warmth side of Oliver which developed into an instant bond with Annie.


In the title role, Abigail Fernandez-Arias was a meaningful spunky Annie. All her dialogue and musical delivery created an enjoyable performance. And we must not forget the acting dog, Molly, as Sandy, never putting a paw wrong.


The hearty response from the members of the audience revealed their enjoyment and appreciation of all the hard working company.