BWW Review: YOUTH ON STAGE: ANNIE the musical at Culture House Martinus
I do wish this becomes a yearly habit of mine: come and review the yearly endearing musical of Vaskivuori Highschool's musical production. This time 2020 it was Annie and I saw it on 12th of January, Sunday 1PM.
Annie is a musical about dreaming of the better, I'd say. There's the little girl Annie (light and focused Krista Schröter) who dreams about her parents and how they'd finally pick her up from the Orphany, though quite many years have passed. All of a sudden she gets picked to spend Christmas at a millionaire Warbucks' place and falls in love with the place and its people. Nevertheless, there's always the evil force as in every story that wants to prevent the happily ever after. What will happen to Annie and her dreams?
We also get to visit Roosevelt's office and figure out how to end poverty. Nice.
Yet again, the ensemble of the talented students is huge and the director Riina Salmi has done good job with it. The live music handled by Matti Suomela sounds utterly great. Also the choreographer Lotta Wichmann has directed the students to dance and move finely. I loved the choreos at the It's a hard knock life, I think I'm gonna like it here and at the Dressed, when the children danced and sung jollily at the orphanige. The movements are in flow and things just work! Also the crawling in the very beginning and the clear contrast between the rich and the poor formed by the crawling choreo and the contrast difference in the clothings of them set a good base to the performance and its thesis.
The performance is full of good details, for example how the bodyguards snap their fingers at the Roosevelt's office, throughout and to end the song; how the Millionaire Warbuck's (played naturally by Onni Aflatuni) shoes shine in gold (clothing by Suvi-Tuuli Höglund). The Scream -painting moment is very clever and-- oh my, a real dog on stage!! I loVeD iT.
There were some parts I would have wanted to see done clearer. For example in the beginning I couldn't figure out if the poors were supposed to walk in non-sync or in sync. Also the breathing before the Overture gained a lot of focus compared to the fact that it-- the heavily breathing-- wasn't used furthermore in the play to make links. For example it could have been used when the poors stared at the conversation at the White House or when Annie hears that she'll meet her real parents. Both of those scenes were cool on their own, especially the latter for it didn't have music in and thus it just focused the grimness of the situation, compared that it would have had an obscure tune behind it for example. Excellent!
I also think that the lights of New York and its setting (Lighting Design by Kalle Paasonen, Set Design by Silja Kauppinen) were so great that when we saw them for the first time, there could have been less people wandering there, in the beginning at least, so we could have looked at the new setting in peace. And thus, there could have been more orphans reacting at the background to the main happenings in the scene before it. Talking about lighting design, it is as its best at miss Hannigan's (gorgeously sour Stella Lappalainen) solo Little Girls when they are turquoise and orange but in the reprise turn into blue and red, so change a tone to darker, as does the atmosphere and the overall mood of the song. Awesome!
Some notable mentions on character work I have to give to Julianna Kauhaniemi as Lily. Her entrance, twang and excellent articulation got me impressed, she expressed bravely, as one should in a musical. I also liked Roosevelt (Konsta Laaksonen) and if I didn't hear wrong he did do impression or at least tried to mimic Roosevelt's way of speaking in English as he named his office workers, very good! Also the working with the walking stick and creating the face of an old fellow, the peace of an elderly character. Nice!
All in all Annie is fairly good musical full of surprises, not to mention its humane approach to life: Magical things can happen to us, but if the little details you've
longed for so long don't match, it's more than okay to feel sad, though it might feel wrong in the first hand.
In the end, tomorrow's only a day away anyways.
I love you, tomorrow... And I love you, Vaskivuori!
And I love you, Sandy the Dog!
Article: Rosanna Liuski, @rosannaliuski
Photos: Tomi Hämäläinen
BOOK BY Thomas Meehan, MUSIC BY Charles Strouse, LYRICS BY Martin Charnin, SUOMENTANUT ESKO ELSTELÄ, ORIGINAL BROADWAY PRODUCTION DIRECTED BY Martin Charnin, PRESENTED ON BROADWAY BY Mike Nichols, PRODUCED BY IRWIN MAYER, SPETHEN R. FRIEDMAN, Lewis Allen, ALVIN NEDERLANDER ASSOCIATES INC., THE JOHN F. KENNEDY CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS, Icarus Productions, BASED ON "LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE"® BY PERMISSION OF THE Tribune Media Services INC. THIS AMATEUR PRODUCTION IS PRESENTED BY ARRANGEMENT WITH Music Theatre International (EUROPE), ALL AUTHORISED PERFORMANCE MATERIALS ARE ALSO SUPPLIED BY MTI EUROPE WWW.MTISHOWS.CO.UK
Vaskivuoren lukion ja Vaskivuoren lukion musiikkiseura ry.:n tuotanto.