We’re in the car winding our way to Pakenham. It’s that strange juxtapostion of urban meeting rural and then being urban again that occurs in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. We’re heading to The Cardinia Cultural Centre to see the Cardinia Performing Arts Company(CPAC) perform Annie.

Here she is, Maya Corbett for this performance.

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There were a few missed notes, but, overall in was a great performance for someone so young. You know that old stage adage, don’t work with children or animals, well, this was a child with a misbehaving dog. I take my hat off to young Maya for being able to keep singing while the dog tried to climb all over her, proving another old stage adage, the show must go on.

The standout for me was Greg Whitehead in the role of Oliver Warbucks, what a voice. Libbie Rogers played the mawkish drunk Miss Hannigan to perfection, along with Joel Norman-Hade as her greasy deadbeat brother. Overall the standard of singing was high, the costuming and staging good. It was a little disconcerting hearing, but not seeing, the orchestra. If l looked up and over my left shoulder l could see the musical director Samuel Looms on a tv screen; not all suburban theatres have room for an orchestra pit in front of the stage. Wherever the musicians were they played well and l love hearing live music. One of the ensemble was slightly out of time with the others, but, this is amateur theatre and there will sometimes be an uneven standard of performance. There can also be happy surprises.


This is Tristan Cullinan-Smayle. I first saw Tristan perform a few years ago, and, to be honest, didn’t think his voice was that good. This is the second time l’ve seen him perform in six months and l have to congratulate him; his voice is so much stronger and has more quality to it. I’m assuming he’s had lessons and this is one of the things l love so much about amateur theatre. Tristan works full time, like many of his fellow performers, and doesn’t get paid for the theatre work. They do this for the love of theatre and l’m so grateful for the time and effort they all put in so people like me, on low incomes, can come along and enjoy the arts.

So thank you CPAC. It was a good afternoon’s performance and l’m looking forward to their next show.

**I’ve been told that the rest of the season has been sold out, a good result for CPAC.

**Apologies to Maya Corbett for the smaller photo; there was other children standing near her and l had to crop the photo to protect their identity.

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