Aug 9 2017 | By More

★★★★☆  Spirited & Heartwarming

Rose Theatre (Venue 76): Thurs 3 – Mon 14 Aug 2017
Review by Dylan Taylor

Captivate Theatre’s excellent production of Annie – on until August 14 at the Rose Theatre – brings a lively and contagious enthusiasm to the Fringe.

Captivate give Annie the classic treatment, making no noticeable changes to the original musical which follows the improving circumstances of young orphan Annie, who is thrown into a world of riches after gaining the opportunity to spend Christmas at the home of billionaire Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks.

The Orphans. Pic Mr Bluetone

Annie is played by the likeable Georgia Sim (alternating with Isla Manson), who brings heart to her role and sings with grace.

The part of orphanage owner Miss Hannigan is played to perfection by Hazel Beattie with a delightfully grating rasp. From her first entrance on, Beattie demonstrates her wide range of acting abilities – hitting the humorous and dramatic notes with just the right amount of expressiveness.

Wonderful, too, is Sarah-Louise Donnelly, who, as Warbucks’ caring secretary Grace, gives Annie the chance of a lifetime by whisking her away from the “hard knock” conditions of Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Donnelly has the best voice on display here, and her animated accompanying of Annie on I Think I’m Going to Like It Here shows off her natural energy and acting chops.


Hard Knock Life is handled with skill, and the girls of the orphanage sound great singing together in unison. Tomorrow is also given a nice rendition by Sim, and the recurrences of the song from other characters is also well handled and adds warmth.

Sarah-Louise Donnelly and Hazel Beattie. Pic Mr Bluetone

The strong musical numbers role on, from Little Girls, to Easy Street – with great work from Liam Forrester as Hannigan’s brother Rooster and Katie Lynch as his girlfriend Lily – and on to We’d Like to Thank You (Herbert Hoover).

Donald Budge makes a fitting Warbucks, playing the part well of a hard-nosed billionaire who begins to soften as his heart is melted by the kind-hearted Annie.

The engagement of the actors with the material makes it a joy to watch the characters interact on stage. Particularly strong here are the scenes between Rooster, Miss Hannigan and Lily who make a hilariously disorganised team. The many girls who play the orphans work excellently together, and the scenes with President Roosevelt (Sandy Queenan), too, are authentic and heartfelt.

The sparseness of the set design almost goes unnoticed, such is the creativity with which it incorporates the main props – several wooden crates. In one scene they are even used to build a Christmas tree, which manages to look warm and jolly.

If there is a weakness here, it is that the band at times sounds slightly out-of-tune and hits some notes that are slightly off. This for the most part only becomes noticeable in a handful of moments when the actors are not accompanying the instruments. Despite these hiccups, Musical Director Tommie Travers solidly handles the majority of the musical numbers.

Sally Lyall’s direction ensures that a great spirit of fun is maintained throughout the performance, which makes Captivate Theatre’s decision to stage this family classic a well-chosen one.

An Annie that stands tall among the shows of the Fringe, and one which is well worth seeing.

Running time: 2 hours and 15 minutes (including one interval)
Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre, 204 Rose Street, EH2 4AZ (Venue 76)
Thursday 3 – Monday 14 Aug 2017
Daily: 2pm
Tickets and details:

Company website:
Facebook: captivatetheatre
Twitter: @Captivate_LTD

Katie Lynch, Liam Forrester and Hazel Beattie. Pic Mr Bluetone


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Comments (4)

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  1. Fiona Pengelly says:

    What a superb production, we loved the whole show. The actors were fabulous and Georgia was brilliant. Well done all.

  2. Janet Fern says:

    Very good show really enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend going to c it.

  3. Joan McDonald says:

    A fantastic show and definitely recommend it. All the Captivate productions I have seen have been amazing.

  4. Emily Simpson says:

    We saw it with the other cast – and they were fantastic too!