REVIEW: Annie, Stage Door Theatre Company at the Windmill Theatre, Littlehampton

Members of the cast
Members of the cast

Annie is a good choice for a show to be staged in the depths of winter and in a world full of troubles and uncertainties.

It invests hope for a brighter , better future in the optimism of innocent children and ends with a warm-hearted , celebratory Christmas scene and with the promise that – as the show-tune says – “the sun’ll come out tomorrow .” It should lift the spirits for all of us …

…and it did ! Andrea White’s nicely-paced and deftly-directed production for Stage Door was lovely – full of warm, generous human spirit . The orphans – some of them as young as six in real life – were terrific and amongst them , Keira Rowling ( in the title role ) was a bright little star with a belter of a voice and disciplined , focused acting skills . We shall see more of her , I’m sure .

But this was very much a company show . There were just too many in the large cast to name them all individually – but I especially enjoyed Fiona Humphreys’ loud , blousy Miss Harrigan , Jamie Griffiths’ Warbuck ( lovely singing voice ) , Siobhana Healy’s turn as radio host Ben Healy – and – not to be forgotten ! – Rusty’s appearances as Bumble the dog. If they give out canine Equity cards , he should certainly get one ! And musicians Michael Wooldridge ( keyboards ) and Chaz McLeod ( percussion ) made an amazingly big sound with just two instruments .

Hearty congratulations to all involved , including those responsible for the set ( clever use of projections ) and costume . I’ve seen quite a few shows by Stage Door over the years – and Annie must count as one of the best ones I can remember .

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