The curtain has gone up on Annie’s five day run at the Millennium Forum.
The rebirth of a classic story Annie is back with not so much of a bang, but multiple explosions of high octane feel good factor fireworks combined with jazz hands.
Captivating audiences throughout the UK and earning rave reviews at every stop, I was very much looking forward to experiencing this new production.
Upon taking our seats the curtain was already up, the scene set with six elaborate single beds each with an orphaned kid fast asleep. Already I was blown away by the jig-saw puzzle set design which was modern yet cartoonesque, almost as if I had been picked up and dropped onto a page of a Dr Seuss book. Then as the lights dimmed the anticipation rose on what was about to begin.
It was refreshing to see the auditorium filled with kids of all ages who were entranced by a musical dating back to the 70’s, but in fairness from the outset it was obvious this production of Annie was different.
The stars of the show were undoubtedly the kids. Incredible little actresses bursting with energy, pitch perfect singing and their passion for theatre spilling out from the stage.
The arrival of Annie is announced by the trademark red hair and having the most dominant personality amongst the orphan kids. Annie acts as the only mother figure these little girls have known and the on-stage chemistry, especially with ‘daddy’ Warbucks (played by Alex Bourne) is heart-warming.
The role of Miss Hannigan appears as if it had been written all those years ago with Lesley Joseph in mind as she makes the part her own. Stumbling around on stage with her little bottle of gin she tries desperately to keep all those little orphan girls in line by spitting just enough venom that you are unsure whether to despise or pity the woman.
Rooster and Lily, the show’s villains, (nicely played by Jonny Fines and Djalenga Scott) are extravagant yet threatening with their performance as crooks from 1930’s New York.
Containing all the classic hits such as Hard Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don’t Need Anything But You and of course Tomorrow, Annie the Musical will blow you away from the first score to the last and I warn you that this show will have a lasting effect on you. For many days later, it could be when you are on your own at the shop or it could be in the safety of your own home, you will suddenly catch yourself humming It’s a Hard Knock Life. I promise.
Photo credit Paul Coltas