Press Review: Annie at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A sensational show!

Directed by Nikolai Foster, book by Thomas Meehan, with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, the show tells the story of Annie (Zoe Akinyosade), who lives a life of misery at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. While holding onto the hope that her parents will return, her luck changes when she’s chosen to spend a fairytale Christmas with famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks (David Burrows). Spiteful Miss Hannigan (Craig Revel-Horwood) has other ideas and, together with her criminal brother, hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search for her true family.

Admittedly, I’m one of the few who has never seen the show or any of the films although I know many of the songs – It’s a Hard Knock Life, Tomorrow, You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile have been a staple in western pop culture for decades. 

It. Was. Fabulous, and from the very opening of the show it was evident that we were going to see something special. The young performers in the roles of the orphans were absolutely sensational, tackling each number with a level of precision, energy and enthusiasm that was way beyond their years. Zoe Akinyosade as Annie was an absolute delight – peppy and charming with a beautiful voice. I was also impressed with her management of the adorable Sandy the dog (played by Lily), who – let’s face it – was a scene stealer throughout. 

Craig Revel-Horwood was a revel-ation. I came to the show with preconceptions based on his Strictly appearances, and was blown away by how hilarious he was as the evil Miss Hannigan and his incredible vocals. He becomes even more delightfully horrible when teamed up with Miss Hannigan’s brother Rooster (Paul French) and his girlfriend, Lily (Billie-Kay), and their rendition of Easy Street was my favourite of the night.  

This is one of the rare shows where each of the cast – from the main performers to the ensemble – brought something to the show. From their choreography to their vocals, timing, scene changes – there wasn’t a single error or misstep and my attentions were drawn to them repeatedly throughout. Even when unexpected circumstances meant that the first act ended suddenly, missing the final scene of the first half, it was handled with such precision that the audience wasn’t aware at first that there was an issue. 

Of course, it is important to mention that the role of Miss Hannigan was recently played on this tour by the late Paul O’Grady, and many of us were left with more than a few tears in our eyes as Revel-Horwood paid tribute to him at the end, dedicating the performance to him. 

I loved everything about this show and would happily see it again. From the superb performances to the incredible set to the lighting – this was a slick performance that both children and adults alike will love!

Annie will be on stage at The Alexandra Theatre until Saturday 15th April. Purchase your tickets here!


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