"Annie" Kids by Stagecoach Performing Arts, Beeston.
When Debbie Pickard invited me to review Stagecoach Performing Arts' "Show In A Week" production of "Annie - Kids", I jumped at the chance for a couple of reasons.
The first was that I'd not seen anything that Stagecoach had done and was interested in seeing a group that I'd not seen before. the second was that "Annie" is a perfect play for younger members to put on.
When I go to see productions like these, I don't expect West End performances, I expect to be entertained and possible spot the odd rough diamond who is ripe for polishing. Today I was entertained in great style and there were enough rough diamonds to fill a necklace.
I was interested to see how fitting in a full musical into just 50 minutes but you know what, it worked very well, and the show was over before I knew, so enraptured in the performance and the talent on show at the Alderman White School.
As you walk through the door of the Alderman White School, there's a message on the wall which says "Shoot for the moon , even if you miss, you'll land in the stars" well even though I didn't shoot for the moon I landed with a host of little, but very bright stars.
You don't need me to tell you the story of "Annie" so i won't. That leaves me to tell you about the production itself.
Annie was played by a very confident young lady called Anna who was one of the 14 non-students of Stagecoach. Loved her acting and I loved the tone of her voice. My favourite song from the musical has always been "Maybe" and Anna delivered a lovely version of it.
Miss Hannigan, played by one of the Stagecoach students, Hazel, also did a wonderful job of the bullying orphanage owner and, even though she has been suffering with bronchitis, she delivered a brilliant performance. her voice was clear and strong, especially in the song "Little Girls".
Daddy Warbucks was played by Phoebe, another one of the elder members, another confident performer, as was Warbucks' secretary Grace Farrell, who was played by Jess D. A nice consistent accent from Jess.
Rooster, the jailbird of a brother of Hannigan's, and his girlfriend were played by Jess S and Hannah respectively. More really confident performers.
Getting a massive "aahhh" from the audience was Isabella, whose face we didn't see until the end, as she played Sandy the dog. i have never seen a more realistic looking stage dog, and Isabella has obviously paid a great deal of attention to how dog's act as her doggy stagecraft was phenomenal.
One name I forgot to ask was a young lady whose voice really made me sit up and listen to. A voice that was so well controlled and pure that, if you shut your eyes you'd not guess that she was as young as she was. The new arrival to NYC who came with her suitcase halfway through the song "NYC" was fantastic, and she had stage presence as well. That girl has a future on stage, should she want to go in that direction, and I kick myself for not getting her name from Debbie.
Also loved the confidence in the young lady who, as one of the orphans, mimicked Ms Hannigan in the song "Hard Knock Life".
The cast for this production ranged in age from six to sixteen and the ensemble, the orphan girls and everyone involved put on a very entertaining show.
When you think that in the short space of just five days, these kids started from a blank page to learning the lines, the music, the songs, the lyrics, the dance routines (including a wonderful tap routine in "NYC"), and presenting a full blown kids version of a musical, they, along with the Stagecoach tutors, deserve the enthusiastic round of applause they got after every song and at the end of the show.
These kids are awe inspiring and I expect to see some of them continue with their acting because they obviously looked like they loved what they.had done, and when you enjoy what you do, you need to carry on doing it.
i can sum up my introduction to Stagecoach Performing Arts, Beeston in three letters, "W" "O" "W".