Father God It’s Me, Annie – Review

It used to be said that the only two sure things in life are death and taxes. I think that another one can now be added. In the middle of November a terrific Kids Praise show will be staged in Middleton Arena.

Although I’ve been coming to these shows now for many years, l was astonished to find out that Kids praise was celebrating its 21st. anniversary. I could have sworn that was five years ago. That must be the female aspect of the show. Always lie about your age!

The quality of Kids Praise constantly amazes me. From the costumes-which are remarkably reworked each year- to the scenery. The choreography-which under Abbie Lee,s direction grows more mature each show- to the acting. All done superbly well. They may also be Christian themed, but the producers – Michelle and Phil Lee -never preach. They engage us over our daily struggles in heartwarming singing and dancing that you’ll struggle to better any time soon.

This year’s festive treat, Annie – and the orphanage where she lives – is appropriate, considering all the new children that take part each year, in the Lee’s ever expanding family atmosphere.

Annie sees the orphan girl escape from the clutches of a suitably severe Lauren Thomas as Miss Hannigan, to try to find her parents. Along the way she befriends a stray dog entertainingly played by Max McCulloch, who if he can still do the splits later on in life will have done all right. Don’t do this at home!

James Lloyd and Jack Green as police Inspector and police sergeant add nice comic touches as do Mark Whittle and Abby Boutell-West as imposter parents to Annie. The whole orphanage children though were excellent and although their problems are both touching and funny, sing and dance they’re hearts out.

Joseph D’Costa, one of the more experienced cast members, seamlessly occupies the role of Annie’s benefactor, Mr Warburton. A nice turn.

Kids Praise has a proud tradition of always getting its cast into the right parts and Holly Clancy as Annie joins a long line of superb young Kids Praise leads. Beautifully acted and sensitively sung she was a joy, especially the memorable “Tomorrow”

I’ve said this many times down the years, but this bunch of young people once a year refresh my cynicism about the world and when it was announced at the end of the show that a young seven-year-old cast member had celebrated her birthday by collecting over a thousand pounds for water purifiers for third-world-countries,- well this old fossil suddenly got something in his eye!

So here’s to next year’s show when Kids Praise will be 21 years old… again!


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