Little Orphan Annie: a six-way adaptation - PANTS Company

Reviewed By Kat Whalen

Fringe Reviewer

"Little Orphan Annie: a six-way adaptation” from the Pants Company opened Friday evening at the Black Box in the West Bottoms. Loosely based on the musical “Annie," it can be enjoyed by those who have never seen it. The production initially seemed oddly topical, dealing as it does, with a financial depression and adoption, though neither topic is dealt with in depth. Written by 7 different playwrights in genres ranging from romantic comedy, absurdism, murder mystery and even a WWE match, each section was introduced by an announcer with an electrified megaphone who identified which actor was playing what role. Unfortunately, the acoustics were such that, at least on opening night, much of what he said was unclear.

The cast rotated through the roles; the Annies were by turns tall, short, female, male and finally, quite young, for example, while "Sandy" was played both by a stuffed animal and a human. The clever use of a couple of sweaters and a jacket made it easy to identify the characters, so what might have seemed jarring was instead seamless. Standouts were the Annie in a medieval joust astride a hobby horse with a pool noodle as a lance, and a rather surly Annie auditioning for a recording contract in the company of a puppet chicken. But the male Annie, alternately asking to be carried and chewing down on some dry cereal while watching Daddy Warbucks come round to the idea of adoption, was the most poignant.

Rated PG for language and a gunshot, this production is nevertheless appropriate for families, and sure to be enjoyed by all.

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