REVIEW: Annie, Jr at the Lyric Theatre, Dinnington

REVIEW: Annie, Jr at the Lyric Theatre, Dinnington

By David Parker | 16/03/2020

REVIEW: Annie, Jr at the Lyric Theatre, Dinnington
The principal cast of Annie, Jr


IT MIGHT be set during the US Great Depression of 1933 but Annie, Jr, performed by the students of Dinnington Operatic Society, is a joyful jaunt.

Annie, Jr is the children’s version of the famous Broadway musical, telling the tale of the orphan girl who is determined to find her real parents, and was performed last Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Lyric Theatre, Dinnington.

The audience have only a brief sojourn in New York City — the entire production lasts for little more than an hour — but it’s entertaining spectacle of familiar musical numbers which will stick with the audience for days.

The titular lead is played by talented singer Faith Birnie who has the unenviable task of pulling off more than one solo hit — including the well-loved Tomorrow, which is a tricky number to perform.

But Birnie is a good vocalist and performs well as the loveable rogue who is determined to find her real parents.

All of the orphans give an entertaining rendition of Annie’s other well-known hit, It’s a Hard Knock Life, and the cheeky scamps run rings around the haggard Miss Hannigan, portrayed by Maisie Simmons.

Simmons is believable as the beleagured orphanage supervisor who is fed up with her life and hates one orphan more than any other — Annie.

In stark contrast to Miss Hannigan, Kitty Esberger is a perfect fit for the role of the prim and proper Grace Farrell who arrives at the orphanage unannounced to find an orphan for her boss, Oliver Warbucks, to spend Christmas with.

Warbucks, the likeable billionaire who has his heart set on adopting Annie, is played by Lewis Maltby, who has a few difficult numbers to sing, including two duets with Birnie, but is a talented vocalist too.

We are also treated to entertaining perfromances from the likes of Rooster (Mikey Bacon) and Lily (Ella Sutton), who claim to be Annie’s parents, and Officer Ward (Oliver Dilks) whose comically oversized uniform is almost as funny as he is.

A special mention is reserved for the most robotic performance of the night — that of a mechanical dog which accompanies Annie during her performance of Tomorrow.

Every member of the Dinnington Operatic Society’s student academy shows a talent beyond their years and they give this classic musical, and its many familar hits, a fantastic showing.