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A 'Hard Knock' Hit: Girls' School's Production Annie Jr.

October 09, 2023 at 2:49 PM

Inside the cosy embrace of the Glen Eden Playhouse Theatre, the warmth of salty popcorn filled the air as eager guests took their seats in anticipation. After a term of dedicated rehearsals and countless hours of preparation, the Girls' School production of Annie Jr. was set to take centre stage, and the atmosphere was palpable. 

The timeless story of a plucky orphan catapulted into the world of a billionaire is one of those narratives that does not fail to evoke nostalgia and hope. It transports us back to a childlike mindset of optimism and resilience, that as adults, we could use a dose of every now and then.

This rendition of the beloved classic, featuring two casts delivering four captivating performances, drew sell-out crowds night after night. The hour-long theatrical masterpiece expertly captured the very essence of the cherished film, reliving the journey of an orphan girl in pursuit of a brighter future.

The two Annies, Cast A's Maddie Denby, and Cast B's Farrah Palmer showcased their remarkable talents, using their strong vocals to seamlessly weave together the story of the plucky orphan. Meanwhile, the two Miss Hannigans, Cast A's Kara Scouller, and Cast B's Rosie Bilkey brought the audience to fits of laughter with their spot-on portrayal of the character's careless, arrogant, and vain disposition.

Among the remarkable cast, one character stood out in a truly unique manner—Sandy the dog. Cleverly brought to life as a puppet, Sandy's endearing shaggy hair and playful antics added an extra layer of charm to the show. Operated with precision by two skilled puppeteers, Sandy became a source of delight, captivating the audience's affection.

An enormous feat, likely unnoticed by theatre-goers, was the intentional involvement of nearly the entire student body. Whether taking part in ensemble performances by classes, assuming main cast roles, or contributing behind the scenes, each member played a vital role. From the intricacies of lighting, sound, and hair and makeup to the meticulous set and costume design, and even the essential front-of-house and catering responsibilities, it was a true testament to teamwork and dedication, uniting the Girls' School community with a shared purpose.

Co-directors Mrs Melinda Downes and Mrs Judy Norton deserve accolades for their outstanding work. Their attention to detail and creative vision breathed life into Annie Jr. in a way that prompted some audience members to secure tickets for a second viewing.

The Girls' School production graces the stage only every other year, turning each occurrence into a cherished event. The confidence instilled in these young girls through their participation in the performing arts will undoubtedly serve as a valuable asset as they progress into high school, where more opportunities await. Annie Jr. is just the beginning of what promises to be a remarkable journey for these budding performers.

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