Who but the most miserly miserable monster wouldn't love this vivacious recipe: mix well one dozen singing orphans, a stunningly sideburned lovable villain called Rooster, a hairy stray dog, a drunken lady insistent upon being greeted 'I love you', and Daddy Warbucks (sufficient unto himself)? Allow to marinate at room temperature for two and a half hours. Behold the resulting amazing enduring Annie!
Singing like a champion orphan (in the tradition of Oliver!), the heroine reels off classics like 'Tomorrow' with a gusto and charm exceeding all expectations for an eleven-year-old. Even the dog Sandy performs like a champion (excepting the very earliest part where he's endearingly sluggish- likely awakened from his pre-show nap and/or drugged with opiates).
The musical snaps to life early; after complaining about cleaning at four in the morning, our orphans nevertheless summon the ungodly enthusiasm necessary to perform 'It's a Hard Knock Life' while indulging in dramatic dancing and frantic floor polishing. If only I could muster that early-morning flamboyance to scrub my kitchen. The smallest orphans miraculously produce the largest performances!
The set and costumes are artistic and colourful, all giving a distinct 1930s New York mood. Raiding the staff wardrobe would be a retro clothier's dream; Daddy Warbucks' assistant, in particular, has the most amazing cape.
The lighthearted musical should appeal to everyone; even the most pragmatic capitalist will agree with Daddy Warbucks that money is futile without someone with whom to share life, and even the most coldhearted grump will admit that 'You're Not Fully Dressed Without a Smile'. Final note: be sure you like the song 'Tomorrow'. The melody and lyrics will stick in your head with the indelible tenacity (yet somewhat pleasant smell) of melted chewing gum in dry hair. I love ya, tomorrow...
Gabriel Miller (DI Reviewer), 18/09/06
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