Sun shines over talented young team

Annie, by Norfolk Youth Music Theatre @ Norwich Playhouse

Annie, by Norfolk Youth Music Theatre @ Norwich Playhouse

By JOHN LAWSON

The sun certainly came out last night over the NYMT's latest production – the evergreen musical tale of little orphan Annie.

The cast of nine to 19-year-olds – augmented by lone adult Colin Payne as Daddy Warbucks – set about the show with gusto.

Ten-year-old Rachael Oakley attacked the title role with relish and a self-assurance beyond her years, as did little Nyisha Bill-Eteson as her principal orphan friend Molly.

Jenny Woodward played Miss Hannigan as a sad gin-soaked lush rather than the hard-nosed harridan we are used to seeing, but was no less effective for that.

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Josh Lincoln and Sarah Wilkinson were suitably seedy as the money-grabbing Rooster and his moll Lily, while Sarah Bailey was a fine foil to Warbucks as his secretary Grace – and possessed the quality singing voice of the night.

The stage was always on the move thanks to excellent choreography by Lisa Campling and Adrian Connell.

First-night scene changes could have been slicker, but the simple sets were beautifully augmented by authentic slides of the period.

Charlie Caine made a solid debut as musical director at the front of an eight-strong band, although I would have been happier if she had decided to thin out incidental music which at times made it difficult to hear dialogue.

But if you want to find where tomorrow's theatrical talent is coming from look no further than the NYMT.

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