Seated in the surprisingly comfortable plush seats of the Royal Circle in the Piccadilly Theatre, I was very impressed by the intricate stage design, striking me as almost an echo of the current Matilda set. With two shows currently being performed on the West End, heavily featuring younger performers, I was hoping Annie would stand its ground.
I was not disappointed!
Set in the 1930s, this show has a little bit of everything that you are looking for while out for a family theatre trip. Beautiful costumes, wonderful voices, amazing dancers and a gorgeous little dog. It was no surprise to see the children around me enjoying themselves, transfixed by what was happening on stage.
Little Annie Ruby Stokes had a beautiful voice, although young she had incredible strength and a sweet tone which was wonderful to listen to throughout the show. All of the children had brilliant stage presence and hilarious comedic timing, not to mention very impressive dance skills. The girls set the tone from the opening song and stole the stage at what can only be the beginning of their inevitable theatre careers.
The dance skill throughout the show was magnificent as the ensemble danced the Charleston, tapped to the beat and swirled around with ballroom beauty. Each lead character joined in the fun at one point or another.
However, one lead stood out for his incredible dance skill above all else. Rooster, played by Jonny Fines, stole my attention from the first moment he began to dance. Maintaining his cool exterior and jazzy style, Fines slid across the stage, easily stealing the spotlight from his fellow performers.
Craig Revel Horwood, although the top name listed in the cast, seemed to slip slightly into the background surrounded by such animated performers. Although his portrayal of Miss Hannigan was amusing, as the villain it fell a little short and with Miss Trunchbull to compete with only a few streets away, the inner villain may need to break free a little more. It’s early days yet for this new cast since Miranda Hart made her leave and I believe it will only get better with each night.
Although not a dancer herself, the lovely and cuddly Amber got many “oohs” and “aahs” and a few squeals of “PUPPY” (definitely not from me 😉 ) when she came running on stage as the lovable Sandy, adding a cuddly companion for our little heroine. Accompanied by the bright and cheerful Miss Farrell and the deep-voiced and fatherly Mr Warbucks, our main girl journeys to find the family she’s always wanted.
For a night of music, love and beautiful dancing go see Annie and remember to show your enjoyment because you’re never fully dressed without a smile.
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