Annie - Musical ☆☆☆☆4
Showing from - Tuesday, October 6, 2015 through till Saturday, October 10, 2015
Hull New Theatre - Kingston-upon-Hull
Jackie Foottit | Tuesday, October 6, 2015
THERE was no curtain up at the Hull New Theatre on the opening night of Annie – well, not while the audience was present anyway.
Let me explain. As we took our seats for the well-known tale of the cute red-haired orphan looking for her parents, the “orphans” were taking to their beds on the stage, in full view of us theatregoers.
It was a novel way to grab our attention while the theatre filled up – and fill up it did.
Set in 1930s New York, during the Great Depression, 11-year-old Annie (an amazing and faultless performance by Madeleine Haynes) finds herself in an orphanage run by Miss Hannigan - The unusual stage design of large jigsaw pieces cleverly mirror Annie’s existence as she tries to put the pieces of her life togetherTV’s Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood in an outstanding, laugh-out-loud performance as the drunken, cruel manageress. His strong singing voice resounded around the theatre; he could dance (obviously) and he played a very good drunk! And I never thought I’d ever write these words, but here goes – nice legs, Craig, but not sure about the French knickers.
Back to the story. Annie, much to the amusement of her fellow orphans (take a bow Rosanna Beacock as Molly, Claudia Carlier as Pepper, Ashley Goldberg as Kate, Connie Burgess as July, Amelia Love Coleman as Duffy and Lissy Mant as Tessie – you were all magnificent), has always believed her parents would come to claim her.
Chance to Escape
Feeling miserable, and while the kids scrub and clean and Miss Hannigan boozes, Annie grabs her chance to escape in a laundry basket. On the mean streets of “Noo York”, her only friend is Sandy, a stray dog (in real life Amber the oh-so-cute Labradoodle).
Brought back to Miss Hannigan by a well-meaning cop, Annie’s luck changes when Grace Farrell (the talented Holly Dale Spencer) chooses Annie to live at the home of her billionaire boss, Oliver Warbucks, for Christmas.
Warbucks (a realistic performance by Alex Bourne) is all set to adopt Annie, when two tricksters (the fabulously entertaining Jonny Fines as Rooster and Djalenga Scott as Lily) profess to be her parents to claim the $50,000 reward. Who does Annie end up with?
The unusual stage design of large jigsaw pieces cleverly mirror Annie’s existence as she tries to put the pieces of her life together. Great lighting and costumes, accompanied by singalongs such as Easy Street, Hard Knock Life, Maybe and Tomorrow, sung in loud, tuneful voices, brought the packed audience to its feet for a standing ovation which was thoroughly deserved by every single person on that stage.
And I bet I wasn’t the only one singing “the sun’ll come out tomorrow” in the car on the way home.
*Miss Hannigan will be played by Birds Of A Feather actress Lesley Joseph on Saturday.
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