Little orphan Annie takes to the stage once again in the award-winning, smash hit musical.
I was lucky enough to be invited to come and review Annie at the Wales Millennium Centre last night…What. A. Show!
This is the kind of show that reminds you why you love the theatre. It has everything. They say never work with children or adults but this production seems to be the exception to the rule. With such powerful voices and excellent choreography, the audience was simply blown away.
The story follows an orphan called Annie who’s living in a miserable orphanage run by frightful Miss Hannigan during 1933’s Great Depression. Her life seems to be heading nowhere until she’s invited to spend Christmas with famous billionaire Oliver Warbucks. But while Annie hunts for her real parents there are some people who are determined to stand in her way.
The talent of this cast was outstanding! Zoe Akinyosade as Annie gave us a moving, powerful performance. To step into such an iconic role at such a young age was inspiring to watch and she took on such beloved songs and to put it simply- she smashed it! With numbers such as ‘Tomorrow’, ‘Maybe’ and ‘I Think I’m Going To Like It Here’, she will tug on your heart-strings. And singing alongside the brilliant Alex Bourne as Oliver Warbucks and Amelia Adams as Grace Farrell in hits like ‘NYC’ and ‘ I Don’t Need Anything But You’, you’ll want to watch it again before it’s even finished!
I had forgotten how funny this show was. The hilarious quips from Miss Hannigan played by Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood had the audience in stitches. We all knew he could dance but hearing his voice shocked us all. Displaying is triple-thread talent in numbers such as ‘Little Girls’. And his performance was only amplified by the uproarious dynamic between Miss Hannigan, and the infamous con man, Rooster, portrayed by Paul French and girlfriend Lily portrayed by Billie-Kay. Every scene with these three was a treat to watch, especially during the toe-tapping, jazzy (and one of my personal favourites) ‘Easy Street’. And the energy Paul French brought to this sleezy character was infectious, owning his presence on stage from start to finish.
And I can’t not mention the insanely talented orphans, who at such a young age their performances were a wonder to watch. In numbers such as ‘It’s The Hard-Knock Life’ and ‘You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile’, these young actors brought something special to the production and left the audience in shock and awe at their performance.
Funny, lively and full of hit numbers with spirited choreography by Nick Winston, this show is not to be missed. It can be enjoyed by any and all ages. This revival of Annie brings a new life to the story and the staging is incredibly vibrant. I often find that crowded staging can go one of two ways, it runs the risk of pulling focus from the actors. But with this show, I found it only enhanced the experience for the audience. Set and costume designer Colin Richmond created a space that pulls you into the story rather than distracts you from it. Stunning work.
The magic of theatre at it’s very best!
Annie is at the Wales Millennium Centre until the 8th July and tickets are selling out fast so what are you waiting for?
All photo credits to Paul Coltas