Fully dressed with plenty of smiles

DOUBLE ACT: Mark Harris as Ralph 'Rooster' Hannigan and Rachel Hemstalk as Lily St-Regis in Annie at Sheffield University Drama Studio.

DOUBLE ACT: Mark Harris as Ralph 'Rooster' Hannigan and Rachel Hemstalk as Lily St-Regis in Annie at Sheffield University Drama Studio.

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The sun certainly came out when the Handsworth and Hallam Theatrre Company, under the excellent direction of Ian Walker, staged the heart-waming show Annie about an orphan who is taken in for the Christmas holidays by billionaire Oliver Warbucks.

As the audience arrived at Sheffield University Drama Studio, they were introduced to the orphans as they played and argued on stage only to settle down as the overture started. Then they came into their own with a strong rendition of “Hard Knock Life” and “Fully Dressed” and were a delight to watch.

Danni Birks, was a fabulously formidable Miss Hannigan, and when joined by Mark Harris as Rooster and Rachel Hemstalk as Lily their performance of “Easy Street “ was totally enjoyable.

Mark Holmes as Oliver Warbucks was as strong in performance as his character portrays with Emma Townend his ever faithfull secretary. Steve Mather played the wheelchair bound president Franklin R Roosevelt with great enthusiasm.

Of course you cannot have the show “Annie” without Sandy the dog and what a loveable dog “Fudge” was.

The excellent six-piece orchestra were under the baton of Graham Keay. The scenery was effective and although had quite a few changes it did not detract from the action and the costumes were totally authentic.

The pivatol role of Annie was played by Alice Mckenzie, only one year older than the 11 year old character she played, and was quite tremendous. Her voice is strong and clear and her acting has a grace and ease of someone of more mature years.

If you managed to get a ticket to see this show you were very lucky, but if not they will be presenting Dick Whittington in January 2013 I would book early!

MARY NEWEY