Every time I am invited to the Regent Theatre to see a show I hotfoot it down there as I honestly can’t recall seeing a show I haven’t enjoyed there, and coming as no surprise to myself, the same has to be said for their most recent production, Annie.
‘Annie’ tells the tale of a New York orphanage where one little girl refuses to give up hope on her parents one day returning and being reunited with the family she so longs for. Annie is invited to spend Christmas with local billionaire, Oliver Warbucks as a charitable deed but orphanage owner, Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to get Annie back.
I went along to the opening night last night I must say that I was surprised to see some empty seats in the theatre which is really unlike the Regent Theatre’s usual crowds but this was in no way a reflection on the production. Every cast member could (naturally) sing and dance superbly and simply watching the Warbucks’ house staff prancing around the entranceway was mesmerising- oh to be able to high kick like that!
The stage set was one of the most impressive I’ve seen from the orphanage bedroom, the Warbucks residence, inside a ration station and even the streets of New York were brought to life. When Annie finds some old stockbrokers & bankers who took a hit in the financial crash of 33 and were down on their luck and living on the streets there was such attention to detail on the set with the steam coming off of a boiling pot of broth and and a smoky scent in the air. And not to forget, Sandy the dog- any dog on the stage is an added bonus in my eyes.
Naturally the star of the show was Annie (Madeleine Haynes) and all of the young girls who made up the girls at the orphanage. Their voices and having such a presence on stage was wonderful to see and I’m sure we’ll be seeing these girls go on to be young women on stages across the country.
I am a huge fan of the 1999 film with Victor Garber and Kathy Bates and was absolutely taken the stage’s version of Oliver Warbucks (Alex Bourne) who was just as charming as I remembered and could sing and dance all while looking very suave.
Lesley Joseph as Miss Hannigan for me was a little underwhelming if I am brutally honest, perhaps that’s because I watched Birds of a Feather all those years ago and couldn’t shake off Dorien Green. Jonny Fines as Rooster led a superb and sassy rendition of Easy Street and Holly Dale Spencer as Warbucks’ assistant, Grace has a voice I could listen to all day.
I really, really enjoyed this production and foudn myself singing along to N.Y.C, Hard Knock Life and of course, Tomorrow.
Like most shows I see at the theatre, it had me rushing home to watch the film and relive it all again and as I’m writing this I have Kathy Bates singing Little Girls in the background.
Annie: The Musical is on at The Regent Theatre until 6th February and you can buy your tickets here http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/annie/regent-theatre/