Annie JR is on at the Theatre Royal these school holidays. Photo: Supplied.

REVIEW: Annie JR

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Review: Annie JR, Tuesday 29 September at Theatre Royal

Reviewed by Christine Stewart-Corke

After months of restrictive small gatherings and too much small screen time, our lives were deprived of live entertainment. We were excited to be gathering with the mass to be entertained by the Nelson Youth Theatres’ opening show of Annie JR at the Theatre Royal. The audience of young and old eagerly awaited.

The opening orphanage scene set the tone of the show with a well-choreographed chorus and delightful characters Molly (Mary Angus), Pepper (Maya Dalton), Tessie (Sophia Evans), July (Lucie Malpot), Katie (Lila Cameron) and Duffy (Kyla Pike). The harmonies were beautiful.

Annie’s soulfully sung ballads by Joelle Noar took us on an emotional journey with her determined quest of hope and belonging to family.

The playful sparring interaction between Miss Hannigan (Georgia Horncastle) and the orphans with the song ‘Little Girls’ was well executed.

Clever lighting, staging and props portrayed the era, with smooth stage and costume changes keeping the momentum of the story going. A notable “New York City’’ scene with special effects, active street goers, and “Star to Be” Aaliyah O’Connor, was high energy and entertaining.

Self-acclaimed, filthy rich Warbucks (Grace Gutschlag) commanded the stage and was well supported by his lovely assistant Grace (Poppy Hogan). Attending servants at his manor set the scene well, including butler Drake (Michael Lee). We enjoyed the tap-dancing scene.

The audience was certainly invested in the plot and booed the baddies. No nonsense Miss Hannigan and her crazy crafty brother Rooster (Devan Gavin) and his expressive partner-in-crime Lily (Kiriana Little) were soon thwarted and reprimanded by Lt Ward (Amelia Allen).

Memorable songs were “Maybe”, “Tomorrow”, and “You’re Never Dressed Without a Smile”.

My daughter’s favourite of the show though was Monty Carruthers as Sandy the dog.