Annie

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

****

JUST when the World is battling with an attack of financial gloom and doom, the happy musical, Annie, breezes into the Black Country with a message of hope.

The story of how little orphan Annie charms a rich industrialist and inspires an American President and his advisors during the depression maybe a touch tongue-in-cheek, but the message in the song, The Sun will Come Out Tomorrow, could be useful today.

This is the final UK tour of the show, and it has attracted large audiences - young and old - to the Grand for a genuine tonic.

Su Pollard, who plays the hard-drinking chief of a New York orphanage, made her TV debut many years ago on Opportunity Knocks, when she was runner-up to a singing Jack Russell.

This time even Danny, the dog playing Sandy with some style, couldn't put Su in the shade, and she was a hoot from start to finish.

A terrific performance, too, from David McAlister as New York billionaire Oliver Warbucks who invites an orphan to spend Christmas in his mansion, then adopts Annie in a rags to riches tale. Fine contributions, also, from Simone Craddock (Grace Farrell) and the three youngsters sharing the role of Annie - Lauren Arnison, Victoria Sian Lewis and Rachel Hall. To 05.11.11

Paul Marston 

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