I have to be brutally honest here, Annie is definitely not one of my favourite musicals, but to give credit where it’s due, I thoroughly enjoyed my evening watching the ‘Steps Productions’ performance of the show. They say you should never work with children or animals, but director Ash White decided to not follow this advice and boy did it pay off!
All the orphans were adorable throughout the show, and you couldnt help but feel for them in their sorry situation. Ciara Gaddas was the cutest Molly and the acting from all the little girls was done with so much conviction. I, myself, was quite surprised to see them on the stage before the show actually started, as I thought ‘surely they’ll run out of things to do?’ but I couldn’t have been more wrong! The girls kept their performances up through the show and never fell out of character, each deciding to do something different in every scene.
The rest of the cast worked so well together, with brilliant acting performances from multiple cast members and brilliant vocals throughout, credit here to musical director Matthew Symonds. Credit also has to go to choreographer Danyl James Turvey, who’s choreography was original, unique and cleanly executed in every number.
For me, there was quite a few stand out performances of the night. Firstly, Adam Wigglesworth as Warbucks. Adam’s vocals were incredible in his solo numbers and his duet with Annie- ‘I Don’t Need Anything But You’- not only featured brilliant dancing skills from the pair, but their vocals never faltered despite the upbeat choreography.
Natalie Haigh was brilliant as Grace, and the part suited her perfectly. Strong vocals and lifelike acting completely enhanced Natalie’s performance and she was beautiful to watch on stage.
Sam Shitliffe was phenomenal as the menacing Miss Hannigan. Her characterisation and acting skills were second to none and I loved the ‘Easy Street’ number she performed alongside the talented, and very entertaining, duo of Rooster and Lilly (played by Aaron Wild and Ellie Simmons).
And last, but by no means least, Annie herself, played by the fabulous Eden Phillips. Eden’s vocals were outstanding for a girl of her age, and I was amazed that such a big voice could come from such a little girl. She oozed talent from the moment she stepped on stage and her acting was great. It was lovely to see her interacting with the dog and not being phased when her furry companion didn’t quite do as she was meant to. It’s fair to say that this little girl has talent way beyond her years.
Steps Productions put on a fabulous production, but for me the only downsides were the inconsistencies with accents and diction at various parts throughout the show. Having said that, this didn’t ruin the performance at all and it was obvious how much hard work and effort had been put in to make the show a success.
I always look forward to the shows that Steps put on, which increase in quality every year, and I was saddened to hear that after their next production, Hairspray, the society was taking a break. I look forward to the next and final production from Steps and I wish each and every person involved the best of luck with whatever comes next!
Thank you for a wonderful evening everyone, and to the remaining audiences, I think you’re gonna like it here!