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ArtSpoken & Reviews

Annie Jr is feel-good, . up-beat, magic

Jennifer de Klerk
11/17/2012 11:27:17 .

Jennifer de . Klerk:, Annie Jr at the National Children's Theatre in Joburg may be a . pocket, musical, but it's far from pint-sized.

Mind you, the stage, at the tiny theatre looks rather crowded with a cast of 10 adults and, seven children, but with a carefully designed set that opens out and, lights up when necessary it all makes sense.

There is even  room for, some energetic dancing and the odd lift.

This is always a winner of, a show, with a totally feel-good story and catchy well-known numbers like, Tomorrow, It's a Hard Knock Life and You're Never Fully Dressed without a, Smile.

The adults are highly professional and take on their . roles, with a zing, particularly the baddies. Chantal Standfield is a . stand-out, with her risqu Miss Hannigan teetering precariously on high heels,, matched by Adam Pelkowitz as a thoroughly slimeball Rooster and . Bianca de, Klerk wide-eyed as the well-painted and plastered Lily.

Nice guys, are Sean McGrath as an endearing Warbucks nothing much . eccentric here, and Myra VIsser poised and perfect as his secretary Grace.

The, ensemble take on the rest of the cast, from policemen, to . chambermaids, to, radio host Bert Healy and President Roosevelt, turning the stage  into a, vibrant New York street in the rousing number NYC, and singing and . dancing, along wherever necessary.

Good as the adults are, they are, . inevitably, upstaged by the children. There are two casts for the . show,, witness of local talent. I saw the Purple group with Emma Rogers as, Annie.

There's a tremendous load on little shoulders in . this show, and Emma is an appealing and natural actress who certainly looks . the part., She needs a mic, though, although the rest of the cast is not amplified., Her voice is sweet, but too small even for this tiny venue. The, alternative Annie is Lintle Lesela.

The rest of the kids I saw, were a pleasure, natural, joyous, polished and great fun. I'm sure the, Pink group is equally accomplished.

And don't forget the dog. This, Sandy is the most gorgeous long-haired puppet that had all the children in, the audience reaching out to pat him.

The show bounces along with, gusto and glee, totally wrapping the audience in feel-good, upbeat  magic.

With interval it's around an hour and a half, but . it had the, children mesmerised. The adults had a really good time.

Annie, Jr, directed by Francois Theron, musical supervisor Rowan Bakker,, choreographer Genna Galloway, decor by Stan Knight, costumes by . Sarah, Roberts and lighting by Jane Gosnell, is at the National . Children's, Theatre until December 23.

Jennifer de Klerk . is, editor of
Related Venue:
National . Children's, Theatre, 3 Junction Avenue Parktown Johannesburg . Gauteng, South Africa