20-24 May 2014
Reviewed by Donna Richardson
The Grand Opera House in York entrance is down a small road leading to the river. It is set in a beautiful city and is easy to find. The Opera House has no parking of its own however there are many public parking areas within walking distance. The Box office is a small room with a large queue out of the door. It is separate from the main entrance and let to a little confusion of where I should go. There is one member of staff serving and I queued for around 20 minutes to collect my tickets.
The reception room is a good size and accommodates the guests well, with a comfortable seating area to enjoy refreshments before the show. I purchased 2 bottles of Pepsi which cost £5, the usual price you would find in a theatre. The bar staff are prompt and friendly. The staff in the reception staff are very helpful and set up in the right places to provide pointers and guidance.
The hall itself is a marvellous room however could do with a little freshen up, having a capacity of 1000 it appears to have good views from most areas. The stage is above stall level and as such front row seats may have limited viewing dependant on the production. My seats in the dress circle are wonderful. I can see all of the stage and feel comfortable throughout.
Now for the show, we were there to see York Stage Musicals present Annie. If you haven’t seen the film Annie is an orphan who wants to find her parents. The show began on time and we were introduced to ‘Annie’, this budding actress has amazing vocal talent, she powerfully performs the songs with feeling. She genuinely captures the essence of Annie with her fun loving, happy, friendly acting. A very pleasant and talented actress.
Sandy Dog, just wow! How well trained and adorable. Sandy sat when appropriate and obeyed the commands to the tee! Sandy was wonderful!
Miss Hannigan is a very talented actress, portraying the drunken traits of the character very well, she could however use some more vocal training to ensure her songs are more enjoyable.
Mr Warbucks is an unusual character that does not seem to fit, he appears too young and struggles to capture the essence of Mr Warbucks. His acting is good and singing is also good however I can’t help but feel the actors could have been better suited for alternative roles. Mr Warbucks would have made a better rooster and visa versa.
The sets are simple and easily manoeuvred to provide different backgrounds. The props used are era appropriate and fit in well with the production to provide a 1930’s feel. There is a good variety of costume changes however; some of the costumes are very ill fitting.
The accompanying band were a very talented group of musicians, their arrangements were possibly the high light of the evening.
The choreography left quite a lot to be desired. The orphans provided very passionate dance routines which fit well with the chaos of the orphanage. However in other scenes there were many occasions where the choreography looked very simple, poorly executed and out of sync.
There were a few malfunctions during the performance including forgotten lines, falls, and screeching microphones, which could all be put down to first night blunders.
Overall the evening was a bit of a let down, with a few diamonds in the rough (Sandy Dog and Annie herself). The tickets cost from £11.90 to £27.90 which I think is an acceptable price for an amateur dramatics show had it been well executed.
Tickets cost from £11.90 to £27.90 (plus £4 transaction fee).
For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 8713024.
Grand Opera House York Theatre, Clifford and Cumberland Street, York, YO1 9SW