Annie - Cromer and Sheringham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society

Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier

Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier

Something special burst on to the Pier Pavilion stage and spun its magic web around the audience.

Cromer and Sheringham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society's stunning production of the 1977 Broadway musical is a big-hearted community event (benefiting young people's charity the Benjamin Foundat-ion) and is played out with lashings of polish and pizzazz.

It's 1933, the Great Depression, and New York City. Ten-year-old Annie lives in a dreary orphanage under the sozzled supervision of Miss Hannigan, dreaming of the day her parents will come to retrieve her. She escapes to search for them, finds a stray dog but no parents and is then brought back, only to be whisked away into luxury by billionaire Oliver Warbucks.

Annie never gives up hope of her parents' return. Her spunky optimism never wavers and infects all around her, even President Roosevelt, inspiring him to launch the New Deal.

With a wonderfully disparate cast of more than 60 including seven children and a dog, some 18 memorable songs and set-piece dances accompanied by a live 11-piece orchestra, plus 14 different scenes, staging a musical like Annie is always a gargantuan challenge.

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Medals for bravery and supreme achievement must go to director and choreographer Jeremy Tustin, musical director Roger Heath and stage manager Peter Howell for such a smooth operation. The performance I saw on Saturday - played to a capacity audience - flowed, sparkled, entertained.

And, yes, the children (plus dog) did steal the show.

Annie continues until Saturday, June 2.

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