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Annie Jr. (Hampton Hill Green)

by on 28 June 2021

From the Stage to the Heart

Annie Jr.  (Hampton Hill Green)

music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin

Dramacube, Hampton Hill Green Cast at Hampton Hill Theatre until 26th June

Review by Millie Stephens

Millie Stephens is one of our younger reviewers.  She trained with the Rose Theatre, Kingston, and is now fifteen years old.

Annie Jr is performed by an outstanding cast of twenty-two talented young actors from Dramacube, staged at Hampton Hill Theatre.  Annie Jr is Stephen Leslie’s amazing take on the Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Annie.

The musical director Abbey Mordue did a wonderful job of lifting the elegant and vibrant singing off the stage and into the audience’s heart.  There was a wonderful range of slower, emotional songs for example Maybe – Reprise sung by Keiva Mcnelis who played Annie; in comparison with Little Girls which was an energetic, powerful song sung by Charlotte Taylor who played Miss Hannigan.  Also the ensemble songs like N.Y.C and Hard-Knock-Life created a buzzing atmosphere where the audience could feel the energy and excitement radiating through the theatre. 

The set design, built by Alan Corbett, was very creative and memorable with the stage split into two halves, the orphanage where Annie spent the first ten years of her life, and Mr Warbucks’ house in which she spends a Christmas holiday and then gets adopted.  This made it easy for the audience to follow the whereabouts of scene.  I also thought that the costume by Hannah Calarco were exceptional, especially with the many costume changes between orphans, New Yorkers and staff.  This helped the show to come alive and let the audience escape into the world of Annie. 

I thought that the entire cast was astounding, in all three of the components in Drama – acting, singing and dancing.  Keiva Mcnelis (Annie) conveyed a wide range of emotions, making the audience sympathise for her and Finbar Power (Oliver Warbucks).  I really enjoyed seeing their relationship develop and evolve throughout the production.  Charlotte Taylor (Miss Hannigan) brought a sense of fun and comedy to the production.  This is empowered by her brilliant scene partners Michael Wells (Rooster) and Elsie Ellis (Lily St.  Regis) who were the perfect balance of cheeky and smart creating a comedic depth in the well-rounded production. 

Some other of the actors who caught my eye with their exceptional contributions were; Lolita Newby Vincent (Tessie, Star-To-Be, Staff) for her beautiful solo in the song N.Y.C  which was electric.  Teddy Button (Drake) also brought multiple smiles to my face with his great delivery of lines as Oliver Warbucks’ (very young) butler.  I don’t think I ever saw Loli Moore (Duffy, staff) without a smile on her face, which made the audience smile back at her, and the whole cast. 

I would also love to give Dramacube a massive applause for putting on such a great performance, especially during these tough months for us all, meaning it was the first performance they had put on in over a year.  It was such a treat to be able to escape from this world into the world of orphans and love and mischief. 

Millie Stephens, June 2021

Photography by Bomi Cooper

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