Friday, 7 August 2015

"Annie" Nottingham Arts Theatre.
Show In A Week

It's a mammoth task to work with a large cast of children to teach them a musical, the script, the songs, choreography etc, especially when it's not a group that has worked as a group before. But these tutors moulded these kids as a potter would create a vase.

The "Show In A Week" schools that are run at the Nottingham Arts Theatre is designed to take a group of aspiring actors and create a musical within FIVE days and then present it on the Friday. You don't expect it to be perfect but apart from a few lines that needed reminding, this show was punchy, entertaining and a brilliant boost to the kids and parents, and in my case, non parent. You could see the incredible amount of hard work that went into this show from the kids to the tutors and of course the parents.

"Annie" is of course the story of the little red haired orphan who managed to escape the evil-hearted and bullying Miss Hannigan who was in charge of the orphanage. She's adopted by billionaire, Oliver "daddy" Warbucks, who tries to locate Annie's parents but discovering that they died a while ago, follows through with his plan to adopt Annie, and get Miss Hannigan, her brother Rooster and his girl friend thrown into jail.

Annie was played with great confidence and gusto by Rubie Pomeroy, Rubie has a really confident, controlled and powerful little pair of lungs on her and she is a very convincing little actor as well, taking the lead role in her stride.

Miss Hannigan was another role given a brilliantly confident, as well as comical rendition by Ashleigh Davis-Lynch. Both Ashleigh and Rubie are ladies that i would like to see go on to extend their acting skills in future shows at the Arts Theatre.

Oliver Warbucks was played by Jonathan Jaycock, who I'm sure that I've seen before somewhere, and another smooth performance. There were so many really excellent performances here, so much confidence and talent for such a young cast.

Rooster, played by Callum Barr is another face I seem to recognise from past Arts Theatre productions also. A wee bit restrained for the "wide boy" role of Rooster, but a great little performer, and I can see Callum moving on to other roles if he sticks with his obvious talent.

Another role which I thought was nicely done as well was the role of Warbucks' right hand woman, Grace, played by Holly Sullivan.

The play was an abridged version of the musical which I thought worked well and, apart from one little part where there was a bare stage for longer than comfortable, the show was fast moving with a great deal of enthusiasm and punch.

Another success for everyone involved from the talented kids on stage to the director, musical director, choreographer, lighting, sound and the stage management. That in itself is no easy job with a large cast of such tender years.

A brilliant introduction for the kids to the theatre and musical theatre which hopefully will see many of them taking their talents, however raw, onwards and upwards. A great start to my weekend and an amazing buzz for the kids to receive a standing ovation in appreciation for the results of this week's hard work.

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