Annie is a firm festive favourite. A staple of the Christmas TV schedules, it is a musical that has found its place. It is currently playing at the Piccadilly Theatre in a new incarnation directed by Nikoli Foster and choreographed by Nick Winston.
The story of Little Orphan Annie is well known. Eager to flee the tyranny of her guardian and to find her parents, she ends up in the car of a rich benefactor and... (well I won't spoil the end). But it is a story many know so there are few surprises in the show. The book and lyrics are a little outdated and, while the show is firmly of the time period it is set in, that does mean some of the references and jokes fall short of the mark. One number in particular, Hooverville, is a victim of this. Thanks to Winston's witty and inventive choreography, the number is buoyant and enjoyable but the lyrics are forgettable.
That said, the story is warm and touching, a classic tale of good winning through. This production also has some wonderful performances not least from Lola Moxom as Annie. Alex Bourne is the embodiment of Daddy Warbucks, a confident giant of commerce who loses his heart to a little orphan. His performance was well suited and balanced, appearing stern yet likeable and endearing him to the audience.
The star name in the production was Strictly Come Dancing's Craig Revel Horwood who is reprising the role of Miss Hannigan. He played the role during the 2016 regional tour and took over from Miranda Hart in the West End. For a star role, Hannigan doesn't have much stage time but Revel Horwood excels in the musical numbers (he's not a bad dancer you know) and his character really comes alive in the songs. For me, however, I found his accent in the scenes a little stilted and restrictive to his performance and I am looking forward to seeing what Meera Syal brings to the role.
Overall the show is well presented, designed and directed with memorable tunes (songs you'll be singing tomorrow (!)).
Annie tickets are now booking until 18 February 2018, get yours now!
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