Review: Centrestage Cymru's Annie, Dolman Theatre, Newport

Review: Centrestage Cymru's Annie, Dolman Theatre, Newport

The sun certainly came out at Newport’s Dolman Theatre, when the large cast of CentreStage Cymru presented their latest production to a packed auditorium.

The well-loved musical ‘Annie’ proved the perfect vehicle to showcase the talents of this talented group, and with no less than two curtain calls, the audience certainly left the theatre with a spring in their step and more than one familiar song in their heart.

This heart-warming and up-lifting tale follows the story of Annie, who was left at the Municipal Orphanage, eleven years ago wearing half a silver locket, and wishing for the day that her parents will return with the other half of the locket and take her home.

Sharon Higgins Academy of Dance Students (pictured in rehearsals) take to the stage of Newport’s Dolman Theatre as the orphans in Centrestage Cymru’s Annie, which runs until May 4, 2019.

Sharon Higgins Academy of Dance Students (pictured in rehearsals) take to the stage of Newport’s Dolman Theatre as the orphans in Centrestage Cymru’s Annie, which runs until May 4, 2019.

After escaping the cruel orphanage once, befriending a dog that she names Sandy, and being unceremoniously returned, she eventually receives some good news that she is able to spend Christmas at the home of wealthy industrialist, Oliver Warbucks. It is from this moment on that the tale takes several twists and turns as we hope for orphan Annie’s happy ending.

It’s been a few years since I’ve had the pleasure of watching this company, and it was with delight to see that some familiar faces, Seren Howells as Duffy and Charlie Turner in a handful of roles, dog catcher, Morgenthau and Jimmy Johns, have grown their talents and developed into leading roles of the future.

Felicity Davis as Annie and Jordan Archer as Daddy Warbucks in a rehearsal picture from Centrestage Cymru’s Annie which runs at Newport’s Dolman Theatre from May 1 to 4, 2019.

Felicity Davis as Annie and Jordan Archer as Daddy Warbucks in a rehearsal picture from Centrestage Cymru’s Annie which runs at Newport’s Dolman Theatre from May 1 to 4, 2019.

Of course, the biggest accolade must be given to Felicity Davies as the feisty Annie who managed to elicit the right amount of empathy from the audience and tackled the huge, solo musical numbers, Maybe and Tomorrow with confidence.

‘Lush’ in every sense of the word sums up Claudia Barnes in an excellent take on the cruel yet hilarious Miss Hannigan, her performance cleverly offset by Fiona Jane Davies as the contrasting prim and proper, Grace Farrell.

The stage came alive with Jordan Archer’s commanding portrayal of Oliver Warbucks, and he hit the spot striking an endearing chemistry with Annie, giving credibility to both characters.

Claudia Barnes as Miss Hannigan with Joseph Gibson as Rooster and Bethan Daniels as Lily pictured in rehearsals for  Easy Street  in Centrestage Cymru’s Annie which runs at the Dolman Theatre from May 1 to 4, 2019.

Claudia Barnes as Miss Hannigan with Joseph Gibson as Rooster and Bethan Daniels as Lily pictured in rehearsals for Easy Street in Centrestage Cymru’s Annie which runs at the Dolman Theatre from May 1 to 4, 2019.

Of course, any lead character can only shine thanks to the selflessness of their backing chorus, and it would be remiss not to mention the contribution made by all the orphans, their ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’ remaining memorable.

 Behind this tremendous cast is a production team that works tirelessly to bring each production to the stage, and Sharon Higgins never ceases to amaze , having produced, directed and choreographed the show, aided by Victoria Bryant’s talents as musical director.

Oh! and Poppy Bryant, aged six! I look forward to seeing you for many years to come, Molly was just a dream to watch.

  • You can catch Annie at the Dolman Theatre until Saturday. Tel: 01633 263670 for ticket availability.

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