Saturday, March 21, 2009

Annie: Theatrical Review By Lezah Williamson

Vancouver: The Centre for the Performing Arts, March 5, 2009

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We went to see Annie on March 5th; not being a fan of the original comic strip, I certainly wasn't familiar with it from its print format, and although I will admit to having seen the movie, I must have been on drugs or something, because I had the story completely wrong.

In case you're not familiar with the story, here's a brief overview:
Annie is set in the depression in New York. Annie is a resident in an orphanage, but unlike the other ‘abandoned’ children, Annie was dropped at the door with a note stating that her parents would be back for their darling daughter as soon as they had some money to support the family. The parents left Annie with half a silver locket; the other half would be produced by the parents as proof that Annie was rightfully theirs when they came to claim her. Because of this, Annie was far more independent than the other orphans, and was a frequent runaway. Miss Hannigan, an alcoholic who runs the orphanage, was constantly on the look out for Annie's next escape. Annie does successfully manage to run away, but is caught and returned to the orphanage. Meanwhile, Grace, the assistant to the very rich Daddy Warbucks, has shown up to 'borrow' an orphan for the Christmas holidays. Annie is spotted, and the deal is set. Similar to the Ann of Green Gables story, it was a boy he had in mind, but he begrudgingly agreed to keep the girl - only to decide to adopt her. Complications arise when Annie reveals that she has a 'real' set of parents out there somewhere; further complicating the issue is Miss Hannigan's unscrupulous brother and his girlfriend Lilly, who decide to pretend they are Annie parents in order to get the reward posted by Daddy Warbucks.

Being a story for kids, this has a happy ending. 'Nuff said.

We saw the Broadway production that is currently touring North America. So, understandably, the sets and costumes were very professional looking.

Annie is being played by Madison Kerth, and although she acted well, her voice just grated - alternating between a scream and bellow. On the contrary, AnnaLisa Leaming, who plays Grace, has an absolutely lovely voice. Another standout was Lynn Andrews as Miss Hannigan.

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